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Pink Spider
01-31-2004, 08:55 PM
This is how Bush supports our troops

by Kenneth Norris
Staff Writer
January 28, 2004

http://www.usavanguard.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/01/28/401970abb42d7

Do you support our troops? If so, prepare to be outraged that our commander in chief does not.

The Bush Administration's 2004 budget proposed gutting Veterans Administration (VA) services, including health care funding. Proposed cuts included: denying at least 360,000 veterans access to health care; $250 annual premiums; increased pharmacy co-payments; a 30 percent increased primary care co-payments; and increased waiting time for a first medical appointment.

Because of budgetary shortfalls, the VA suspended the enrollment of veterans not injured in service earning between $24,450 and $38,100 annually. VFW officials estimated the administration's VA budget is at least $2 billion short of meeting the demand for quality health care.

The FY 2004 budget approved by Congress calls for reducing VA funding over a 10-year period by $6.2 billion. Cuts are in the areas of veterans' health care and disability benefits.

The cuts affect VA discretionary funding, which could mean discontinuation of burial benefits for veterans or delays in the cost-of-living adjustment for disability benefits.

Some veterans must pay a new $250 annual enrollment fee to join the VA healthcare system. The VA believes 1.25 million veterans nationwide, already under the VA healthcare plan, may no longer be able to participate because of the new fee.

Veterans who can remain under the VA health-care system will pay increased co-payments for physician benefits and prescription drug cost, amounting to an estimated increase in out-of-pocket expenses of $347 each year.

The Bush Administration's budget proposal would have under-funded the VA by more than $2 billion. Bush's proposal would have cut the number of employees available to process disability claims, yet veterans already wait more than six months for a review of disability applications. The Bush plan for dealing with the waiting lists at VA clinics and hospitals is to reduce the number of veterans treated by the VA.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, disputed the credibility of Bush's budget proposal. He doubted reducing VA medical staff could meet the expanding needs at the Veterans Health Administration.

Rep. Bob Stump(R-AZ) noted the VA budget "identifies hundreds of millions of dollars needed for existing fixed costs, new advanced treatments and new initiatives to provide greater care for veterans. Unfortunately, the Administration hasn't included any new funding to address those needs."

Last March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget that included a $28.8 billion 10-year reduction in funding for veterans. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans began a letter-writing campaign to protest the reduction, so a House-Senate conference committee reduced the cut to $6.2 billion. President Bush complained that Congress needed fiscal restraint.

An army of veterans twice the size of that involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom has lost health insurance benefits since Bush took office. As many as half a million vets are homeless. Seven VA hospitals are being closed as part of an effort to "restructure" the Department of Veterans Affairs. Meanwhile, veterans of the Iraq campaign can fall in line with over 250,000 veterans who are already waiting at least six months to see a doctor.

The General Accounting Office estimates that 20 percent of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel have no health insurance at all. Although Bush did not hesitate to send Reservists and National Guardsmen to face death in Iraq, he has consistently opposed any attempt to extend full benefits to them.

Bush tried to cut monthly imminent-danger pay and family separation allowance, and he called a proposed increase in the sum given to families of soldiers who die on active duty "wasteful and unnec- essary."

Additionally, Bush considered how much money the country would save (and how much more could be diverted to Bechtel and Halliburton contracts) if veterans could not even find out what their benefits are.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV), an organization that since 1920 has helped U.S. combat casualties learn about the benefits they have earned and how to apply for them, has been obstructed in its efforts by Bush.

The Pentagon has been severely limiting DAV access to wounded veterans on grounds of "security" and protecting "privacy." The Pentagon protects the veterans' privacy by not allowing them to speak with DAV representatives "unmonitored."

DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman wrote to the Secretary of Defense, complaining the Pentagon has severely restricted DAV's efforts to visit with wounded patients. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center headquarters office selects the patients DAV may visit, and DAV's representatives are escorted at all times. The escort closely monitors all contact with patients.

Gorman contended these broad restrictions on patient access inhibit the ability of DAV to help ensure that wounded service members have the necessary information to obtain the medical care and bene fits these veterans need.

Gorman warned, "The American public would be outraged if these restrictions became public knowledge."

So, are you "outraged?" Do you even care that Bush cynically pays lip service to "supporting our troops" while gutting programs created to help the troops who have made awesome sacrifices to protect America?

Does it piss you off that Bush would deny our troops information about how to get the benefits they need and have earned?

Wake up and see Bush for what he is. Bush is a liar who manipulated you into "supporting our troops" only insofar as it facilitated his agenda, but his actions prove he cares nothing about their welfare.

Figs
03-01-2005, 04:26 PM
this is bad

Nickdfresh
03-01-2005, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by Pink Spider
This is how Bush supports our troops

by Kenneth Norris

...estimated the administration's VA budget is at least $2 billion short of meeting the demand for quality health care.



Maybe if we weren't sending $1.3 billion to Iraq every week?

BigBadBrian
03-01-2005, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by Figs
this is bad

If it were true. Some of it is....but only because it's been that way for years. I'm fucking tired of either side using Veteran's Benefits in a Tug of War over political clout. :mad: