UPDATE: Good news! A few days of feedback, and President Obama has backed off.
This may sound absurd and I wish it was. It seems the current administration has decided that a good way to save money is to have our military veterans pay for duty or combat related injuries:
The Obama administration is considering making veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries. The plan would be an about-face on what veterans believe is a long-standing pledge to pay for health care costs that result from their military service…
…Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said at the same hearing that the plan was “a consideration.” He also acknowledged that the VA’s proposed budget for next year included it as a way to increase revenue. But he told the committee that “a final decision hasn’t been made yet.”…
…”It’s a betrayal,” said Joe Violante, legislative director of Disabled American Veterans, which signed the letter to Obama. “My insurance company didn’t send me to Vietnam, my government did. The same holds true for men and women now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s the government’s responsibility.”
So much for President Obama’s promises of a sacred trust.
Ed Morrisey also nicely sums up the problems that will arise from such a policy:
The Obama administration explains that it wants private insurers who sell coverage to vets to pay their fair share, but there are two things wrong with that argument. First, the United States has a moral obligation to provide treatment for those wounded in the service of their country. That’s a commitment we make to the people who enlist in military, and should not get outsourced.
Second, vets with service-related injuries and illnesses can only get third-party insurance because insurers know the US will cover all service-related medical treatment through the VA. If the government reneges on that commitment, it will put insurers on the hook for veterans already enrolled — but it will make it a lot harder for the next set of veterans to get insured. It will also raise costs to the rest of the insured by those companies, when the burden should fall on all Americans equally.
If the country needs more revenue streams, it should find some other way to find them than the backs of our wounded veterans. They’ve sacrificed enough. Shame on the Obama administration for attempting to weasel out of our commitment.
Thus far, our President and Congress have seen fit to spend massive amounts of money on bailout and stimulus packages loaded with pork projects. Call your congressman and ask that they oppose this policy. If they’re tight on money from their spending binge, suggest they cut some of their beloved pork projects.