Editorial on VA Medical care mandated funding


E-mail sent to me by one of our 1/44th Duster DMZ guys.



“Note the mix of Democrats and Republicans that voted against mandatory funding for veterans health care:  Democrats 1    Republicans 53”



This e-mail concerned the latest vote in the senate for Mandatory VA funding.


Now with all the political posturing by our “honorable politicians” on both sides of the aisle on Veterans Issues, these voting results unfortunately were expected.


It is easy to vote for something that you know has no chance of passing.


Just like introducing a bill that has no chance of passing or sponsoring a bill or cosponsoring a bill and then not even voting for it.  The results are the same.


Veterans = 0

Politician for doing something that had no chance of passing anything, including gas =1


Moreover, the politician takes all the voter credit for in fact “accomplishing nothing.”


VA mandatory funding is certainly nothing new to the political scene since the Republicans took office.  However, I think it is obvious the Republicans and the present administration are out to change the definition of what a Veteran is and what those earned benefits are to be.


I do not think us old guys have a dog in that fight other than making sure that present and future Veterans understand that they should BEWARE of the Government/DOD/VA in its portrayal of what “earned benefits are” and that they then become the third class citizens of our Nation.


I watched the new executive branch appointed Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs did the “old dead wood shuffle” as he was asked the question, would he support a mandated budget or even a minimum mandated budget with deltas off of that mandated dollar figure.


Who cares whether he would support it or not?  


He is an appointed administrator “not a damn lawmaker” that makes our laws.  Although, this branch of the federal government does seemed to have “law making power” never here-to-fore seen in subsidiaries of our elected government. 


I think there is a word for that form of lawmaking that is not directly subjected to voter approval or voter disapproval.  Just another nice hand off of the issues by our real elected officials that gave this agency that legal power and by default to the “executive branch” to do about whatever it wants, including collaboration.


Now it is obvious that the definition of what a Veteran is and what he or she has earned has changed since us old guys were in.


Before, it was a benefit earned for being wounded, or hurt while in service, or being a retired military career Veteran.  In fact, at that time it was the only free medical care offered to any segment of society as an “earned benefit” by our government.  You did something for the nation and in some cases; the rest of the entire world, and the nation now is taking care of you; as promised and you earned, not given away.


Of course, “the uniqueness of this program” went by the wayside as the politicians postured and pandered for more votes with more and more social programs.  Not earned benefits for doing something for the nation but just the fact you were here, legally or illegally it makes no difference. 


A temporary bridge for our nations workers in-between jobs became a way life as in Medicaid.  Cannot afford kids, do not wait until you can - just put them on Medicaid.  A new way of life.


While I disagreed with Secretary Princippi, on many issues.  I am finally starting to realize why he might have changed that definition of what is a Veteran and I might be giving him too much credit.  I think he finally realized that the dioxin issue was much more than anyone in the government was admitting to and in his mind, it should be open to all Veterans of that era.  Not just Nam Veterans as it has been proven the DOD used that toxic swill all over our overseas bases as well as bases in this country.  I know, a bit of a stretch but lets hope at least he thought about that.


Included in that decisions was the overzealous recruiters and retention NCO’s that in effect lied and told us what we would get as free medical care for life and it indeed was a lie at the time.


The Bush Administration set Republican Congressman Smith of New Jersey aside for not playing ball with his new definitions of what a Veteran is and has earned.  It seems that more and more the DOD is looking to get rid of tasks that traditionally were part of the DOD and the military and make them civil service of some type.  In addition with what has gone on the last five years and with what is going on in the Disability Commission at present - rest assured those definitions are developing. 


In fact my opinion is of this definition of what is a Veteran has to be the following:


As long as our DOD has the Feres Doctrine and the VA has USC 38 para 511 then anyone that serves in the military is a Veteran and has "earned medical care."  This is because with the Feres Doctrine and USC 38 Para 511 the United States government can and will do anything it wants to those men and women.  Including crimes against humanity itself as documented by the previous history of all the Veteran's BCW lab rat testing issues, toxic chemical issues and lord knows what the Gulf War guys got into. 


It cannot be one way only, not in this Nation! 


The Presidents and politicians are not above the constitution!  Someone must be held accountable for these nefarious deeds.


Now my curiosity is up when I see things like this civil service issue, which seems to only an issue of which bucket the money comes out of; the DOD or the civil service.  To the taxpayer it makes no difference if a Private does it or a GS-6.  Although I certainly would like to see, the trade studies done on that one.  Of how we save money, by not having a private do the task instead a GS-6.  I do not think the pay and the benefits are an equal trade.  On paper it looks like the DOD will not need as much money or manpower but in reality the same tasks must be done.  The taxpayer does not see any benefit in this. 


Including I will go out on a limb here maybe even a twig but I would say if you have not earned some form of combat badge then you will not be eligible for much, including there will be a two year limit on compensation claims, and here is the kicker.  I would expect that the result would be no different than the civilian world for injuries in that unless you go to court for negligence and get some monetary award which Veterans by law are not allowed to do.  Veterans will be subjected to the same one time good deal that is in line or parallel with the civilian workman’s compensation.  Not saying there will not be treatment or some time limit of treatment but after that buddy here is the deal; take it or leave it.  This is already in work at the Disability Commission for those Veterans that are at 20% or less.  Here is the cash - now go away and do not ever darken our doorstep again.


Again, I do not think we have a dog in that fight but again it must be made clear to the present and future troops that traditional Veterans benefits no longer exist and you are for all practical purposes under civil service.          


Back to our issues - if the Veteran was still making some good money then naturally there was a copay to be made, at least in my opinion.  If any Veteran that still has a good retirement hospitalization or such; or on Medicare is probably not going to wait in line at the VA.


Nevertheless, here is the political fallacy in not making the VA health care system mandatory.


The politicians, the VA, and even the New York Times constantly crow about the VA quality of care versus cost.  The New York Times even suggest the VA health care system should be the model for all health care.  All be it total assembly line practicing of medicine.


Assumptions are:  that any Veteran under his own medical plan, his wife’s medical plan, Social Security, is probably not going to wait at the VA for an appointment and then hear nothing back for six months if ever.  I would say that the VA prescription plan is an asset that cannot be beat to a point; at least for generic drugs.


Now if the VA medical care is so cost effective by our politicians and the media’s own admissions; then why in the world would you not vote for some level of minimum mandated funding for the cheaper choice. 


The alternative would be to put the needy Veterans in the socialized system which has bankrupt more hospitals and put more hospital systems in debt from treating the 12 million illegals that no one seems to be worried about voting on a budget every year to support.


Why is that?  Because that would be a political hot potato and these so-called honorable men and women bow out on hard issues that benefit the nation yet may cost them votes?  Self-preservation and winning the next election is their most important product.


On the other hand, in the case of some in the congress like the highly decorated Vietnam Veteran Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham prostituting himself with a sliding scale of money for efforts expended then a bank account comes before the nation.  I believe we have only scratched the surface in some of these issues including lobbying issues.

Veterans have no lobby, or money, or influence with these honorable men. 


Only hollow words during election years come from these men and women as they parry and thrust among themselves to support some president who could care less about your used up government assets.


The only reason not to support VA Medical Care with a mandated minimum budget with its built in assembly line efficiencies and low cost per patient ratios is?????????


Eventually it is planned to go away!