The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President's Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.
"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."
Discussion has exploded in the blogosphere, driven in no small part by the talking heads on AM radio dials across the country. To listen to them, you'd think Obama will also require you to bring your own weapon and buy your cammies before joining the military. But what's the real story?
Obama increased the Veteran Administration's budget 15% to $113 billion to cover an additional 500,000 service members. That's the largest dollar and percentage increase ever requested by a president for the veterans. This includes helping those who live in rural areas so they don't have to drive hundreds of miles to get the treatment they need. It also includes measures to expand coverage of mental health. Vets cannot concurrently receive retirement benefits and disability benefits. Obama's plan will gradually lift that restriction. Overall, his plan is great for veterans and it addresses many of the concerns they've voiced about VA health care.
First, no decision has been made. Second, this is something that was under consideration. The administration floated it and heard the response from the veterans. It won't make it to the hill. But you can see how this all came about - the President wants to cover more people but has to figure out how to pay for it while the economy is falling down around him. So if this isn't acceptable, he'll have to find another way - which will likely be having Medicare pay for the VA's treatment of Medicare-eligible vets for treatment of non-service connected injuries/illnesses.
The upshot is that the various veterans organizations like his plan with the exception of this one particular proposal. That's understandable, but you don't get that sense from this article. The talking heads of the far right have devolved the discussion into Barrack Hussein Obama's hatred of America and its heroes. Is there any wonder they've lost credibility with the general public? Is this the strategy the plan to gain votes from the independents?
A better (i.e. unbiased) article can be found here.