WASHINGTON — A group of Republican lawmakers wants the Department of Defense to eliminate former Gov. John Baldacci’s newly created military health care reform job.

At a news conference today, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee, said he and seven other GOP subcommittee members have sent a letter to Baldacci’s boss at the Pentagon calling on him to “immediately eliminate this position.”

Wilson said the position duplicates work being carried out by the official who hired Baldacci, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford L. Stanley, and by Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs

“The thought of coming up with an out-of-work governor to do this is wrong,” Wilson said at the news conference. “It seems like a make-work position.”

Baldacci is being paid $165,300 for the one-year position, which can be extended. The Maine Democrat, who served four terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2002, was paid $70,000 as governor. He served two four-year terms as governor.

Wilson and the other Republicans are calling Baldacci’s job that of a “military health care czar,” and displayed a poster at the news conference satirizing an “Uncle Sam” recruiting poster: “Military Health Care Czar? Who foots the bill? You! The taxpayer!”

Wilson said there likely are other costs associated with Baldacci’s job, such as staff Baldacci might want to hire to assist him in reviewing how to overhaul and improve military health care operations.

“This is a position that is not needed,” Wilson said.

He also said that the Defense Department is looking to cut its health care spending and increase premiums and fees for beneficiaries of Tricare, the health care program for retirees.

Wilson said he and other GOP members have reservations about some of those proposals.

Baldacci’s hiring “only heightens our concerns because they portend a future wave of reforms that may make the current proposals irrelevant,” states the letter by Wilson and the other Republicans to Stanley.

The Defense Department declined comment, with a spokeswoman saying Stanley will respond directly to Wilson. Baldacci could not be reached for comment, and has referred past questions to Defense Department officials.