To Honor Our Veterans

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eggplant43

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A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten
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I'd always thought once a veteran, always a veteran. But apparently that isn't so. Are we to decide that some veterans deserve service, while others don't. If we decide that now, will we further reduce benefits for other classes of veterans in the future. Now I understand the may be the VA Administrators way of saying "Hey, there's a problem here". But why does he need to do so in the first place. While the Bush Administration proposes yet another tax decrease, they are silent about this reduction of benefits. Is this how "Compassionate Conservatism " works? If you watch the actions, not listen to the the rhetoric, one gets a rather different picture. Will we now discount what is available to our veterans as policy?




VA to start limiting care to some veterans
By AP and Journal staff


WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department will suspend enrollment today for higher-income vets seeking health care for nonmilitary related ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

The suspension, scheduled to last through 2003, goes against VA policy set in 1996, when Congress ordered the agency to open health care to nearly all veterans. The change is expected to affect about 164,000 veterans.



In a statement Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., called the suspension of benefits appalling and extremely disappointing.

"At a time the Bush administration is considering sending our men and women in uniform into battle, they're choosing to push a trillion-dollar tax cut for the wealthiest instead of taking care of those that have already served," Daschle spokesman Jay Carson said.

Carson said Daschle believes the action sends a terrible message and is unacceptable. Daschle will continue his fight for increased funding for veterans, Carson said.

"The senator will also continue to make the case that American veterans need to receive the health-care coverage they have been promised more than the wealthiest in America need a tax cut," Carson said.

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said the decision was disappointing but "underscores the need to develop long-term solutions to VA's health-care funding problems."

In an interview with The Associated Press, VA Secretary Anthony Principi said the agency has been struggling to provide adequate health care to a rapidly rising number of veterans. The VA's patient population ballooned from 2.9 million in 1996 to 6.8 million today, Principi said.

"People might say, ‘Well, Mr. Secretary, what kind of message does this send to people who may deploy to the Persian Gulf?"' Principi said.

"I have a son in the Gulf, who may deploy to Iraq, who may fight a war if the president chooses. I think it sends a positive message that the VA is there for those who are disabled in uniform. The VA is there for men and women who come back and, within the first two years, need VA health care."

Ronald Conley, American Legion national commander, agreed with Principi that Congress has not provided the agency enough money to fulfill its mandate to provide care to nearly all veterans.

"The Congress of the United States has to properly fund it, and this is the bottom line. And the president has to go to Congress and tell them they have to fund it," Conley said.

Principi said he expects President Bush to propose a 7.7 percent increase in the VA's health-care budget for 2004, but he said it would not be enough.

The enrollment suspension applies to those considered the lowest priority for benefits, called Category 8 veterans. Those veterans are not suffering from ailments caused by their military service, such as complications surrounding a war or training injury.

Category 8 income levels vary, depending on residence and marital status. For instance, unmarried veterans making more than $38,100 in Atlanta or more than $29,200 in New Bedford, Mass., would be considered Category 8 veterans.

The 6.8 million veterans already enrolled in the VA, including 1.4 million Category 8 veterans, would not be affected by Principi's decision. The VA estimates that about 164,000 Category 8 veterans would have enrolled this year.

The suspension of benefits did not surprise Jeff Honeycutt, chief of community affairs at Fort Meade VA Medical Center. Honeycutt said Category 8, or Priority 8, was added to the VA's list of enrollment-priority groups in December. The new group added a geographic factor for computing veterans' eligibility for benefits, he said.

A nonmarried veteran living in Rapid City making more than $27,600 would fall into Category 8.

Nonmarried veterans living in Meade or Fall River counties and making more than $25,100 would be considered Category 8 veterans.

"The key point that we want to make is that veterans who are already enrolled will not be effected by this decision," Honeycutt said.

About 18.2 million U.S. veterans do not use VA health care.

Principi, who is mandated by law to review enrollments every year, had warned Congress last session that he might be forced to limit enrollments if lawmakers did not approve a proposed $1,500 deductible for higher-income veterans.

Congress balked at the proposal, which was criticized heavily by some veterans groups.

Principi said the VA needs the enrollment "time out" to get a handle on its current workload and reduce waiting times that can be as long as six months.

Meanwhile, he said he and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson would try to work through regulations to allow the VA to be reimbursed for services provided to Medicare-eligible veterans, generally those over 65 years old.

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to acknowledge that I am a Veteran of a foreign war with a service connected disability. I am not currently affected by this new ruling.
 
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Unfortunately Bruce there will be many more category 8 vets that will be left without any VA health insurance because of the enormous increases in Private carrier costs experienced over the last couple of years. In the Milwaukee area alone Health care costs have risen to terrible levels where health care is not affordable to the average wage earner. Here is a clip from one of the news articles.

JSOnline

Health care experts say price competition has been sorely lacking in Wisconsin.

A William M. Mercer study last year found that health care costs in the Milwaukee area were 55% higher than the Midwest average, and 31% of that increase was attributable to the prices charged by hospitals and doctors.

Andy Serio, president of Health Care System Consultants in Wauwatosa, congratulated Aurora for its pledge but said hospital systems are being closely watched by employers, so it would be difficult for them to continue increasing prices dramatically.

Since 1996, rates have increased 54.1% at Aurora's flagship hospital, St. Luke's Medical Center, and have risen 38.8% at Aurora Sinai Medical Center.

From 1996 to mid-2002, the 15 general hospitals in the Milwaukee area have raised their rates by an average of 41%, about three times the increase in the entire Consumer Price Index over the same span, according to the Wisconsin Bureau of Health Information.
http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jan03/108522.asp

Because of these ridiculous increases here and elsewhere employers are forced to pass the cost increases onto employees who for the most part are strapped for cash as it is.

Also this business of tax cuts only for the wealthy stated in the article you posted is really ridiculous too since the classification of wealthy currently defined is a couple combined income of $50,000 per year. All them lawmakers make almost twice that themselves! Sure would be nice to see a paycheck with an extra $1200. cumulative over a years period. Not really the extra health care premiums would consume that!


Dave
 

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"Higher income vets for non-military ailments."

However, it is still wrong. Our Vets deserve better than that,
 

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The only one standing.
<img src= "http://forums.techguy.org/attachment.php?postid=686636 ">
 

eggplant43

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A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten
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That's a powerful picture.

Dave, I thank you for posting that article, and I certainly understand your position. What I'm questioning is the juxtaposition of tax cuts when our deficits are increasing daily in conjunction with cuts like this. Are they saying that we'll stand behind our vets unless it become inconvenient? To me it's a matter of priorities, and I think these priorities are highly suspicious.
 
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Bruce
Well something has to give!
Between Federal, State, Local, Property, School, Sales, Gas, Alcohol, ecetrea.... Oh yes and the other FEE's which are not taxes.... Right..... Judy and I are left half of what our gross income is to handle our Daily living expenses!!
But remember we are classified as wealthy!
Unfortunately this category we are in comprises much of John Q public with two incomes!
Sad isn't it!

Dave

PS: Deficits are rising because no one wants to give up anything and cut back! Don't see any of them politicians handing back any of there salaries or benefits! Our New Governer is faced with a huge State deficit but gives his staff huge pay increases!!!!

Sorry my friend that I went off! It is all a game they play with us no matter if we are Vets!
 

pyritechips

Jim
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Only recently has Canada recognized our Korean Vets, because that conflict wasn't officially a war, but a "police action".

Shame on us!
 

pyritechips

Jim
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I prefer your jeep Dave, not that plastic-looking yuppie wagon! I also prefer the background! If that's where you live I'm going to have to drop by for a cold one!
 
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Actually that is Minnesota I believe but out forests are much the same unfortunately Off roading is getting harder and harder due to Privatizing.

Thanks for cooling me down PC! Needed that! Sometimes people do not see the forest through the trees!

Dave

PS: Canada has always been my favorite place so I will deliver the beer! Braden Black of course!
 
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Bruce
Sorry I started ranting within your thread! Not my place to do so but it seems to many loose sight of us common folk and many of us our Vets! Why do they make cuts where people do not have the resources to fight back!

Dave
 

eggplant43

Thread Starter
A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten
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You're entitled. That's one of the reasons I started this thread. It's so frustrating.

A proposal I've made on these boards before is an across the board 20% cut of all expenditures. Let those that administrate decide how to resolve the issues. There is so much waste in government I think they could probably do this without much reduction in service, it would simply require that they become more efficient.

Earlier this week I read an article about the new Governor of South Carolina. He is going to have an inaugral BBQ instead of Ball, and his wife is doing the shopping at WalMart. That's my kind of leadership.

At the same time, the Congress has refused to allocate the funds that the VA requires. Several years ago they had 2 million registrants, it's now up to 7 million. The politicians give lip service to Veterans Affairs, while not allocating funds when given the opportunity. I'm asking, where are their priorities.
 

pyritechips

Jim
Gone but Never Forgotten
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I used to have a cynical, ani-war attitude towards the military, even though my Dad and his Dad were both in the military (my Grandfather was one of the first Canadians to land in Europe at the onset of the First World War in 1914).

What changed my mind was the 1994 50th Anniversary D-day invasion ceremonies. One vet changed my mind. He was an ordinary Canadian man, not a career man but one that answered the call. He refused to be called a hero (I despise the overuse of that word!). And after 50 years he still cried when trying to recount the horror of the war. It made me feel me ashamed that, not only had I never served in a war to qualify me to comment on it, but I hadn't even served in the Forces.

My attitude towards Vets has changed, but my hatred of war hasn't. I hate the glorification of war. I hate hero worship. And I hate the fact that, due to the willingness of too many people spurned on by too many leaders, that poor ******* had to go to war at all and have it haunt his life forever.
 
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Bruce
Priorities? Shall we go back and review the Jeep pictures!

PC
When I was a young pup and didn't know better. The best honored person I could become was a Marine. There wasn't the promo ads they have now but it was my dream. I still carry that dream and feel honored I did my part so everyone can be free. Was it a fantasy I lived? No it was real! It was a horrible time in our History as any War is. The only difference we have now and it started back in our time was people questioned why are we doing this and rallied antiwar protests against it. What most who protested did not know it was those who were willing to fight for what they...... (I won't say believed in)... because we didn't know better...but it was what we were told was right so our folks back home will be safe! You see PC we are not Hero's, we are just the you's and I's that believe what we are doing will protect our family. The Soldier you met that day does not think He did anything that made him a Hero because as you..... you would protect Sweets with your life.
There is not much more to say here without talking stupid so it is best left unsaid.
You as anyone of us would defend our loved ones with our lives if we had to and it is just some of us go along ways away to do it before it gets next-door.

Dave
 

pyritechips

Jim
Gone but Never Forgotten
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There is not much more to say here without talking stupid so it is best left unsaid
Amen Dave and thanks for the words. I guess that puts paid to this thread.:)
 
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