March 18, 2009

Obama Pulls Charging Wounded Vets off the Table

Although it was never officially announced, the White House has pulled a controversial plan off the table that would have private insurance companies, instead of the Veterans Affairs Department, pay for veterans' service-related injuries.

It was an attempt to get back $540 million dollars in cost, but at the expense of having veterans find their insurance, which quickly enraged veterans groups who quickly banned together to form an alliance against it. Eleven veterans' service organizations met the president on Monday, then followed up with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday.

"In considering the third-party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans," Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary said. "However, the president listened to concerns raised by the [organization leaders] that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families' ability to access health care."

"Our message to the president was simple and direct: that our government must not abandon its moral responsibility to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms," said David Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans.

At the White House, Robert Gibbs issued a statement confirming the reversal, saying the president had listened closely to the veterans' concerns and ordered the proposal "dropped."

While Obama had stated early in the campaign a proposal to dramatically increase funding for veterans' health care, this idea that now is dead was sure not the way to go about accomplishing that. The best bet to help the veterans is to improve the VA hospitals and get them up to date, they have sorely been ignored for years.

Bottom line he lost some points with the vets over this, but luckily he has about three years and some "change" to do it.

Source: N.Y. Times

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