Republicans Seek To Cut Benefits for Disabled Veterans

Remember Michele Bachmanns’s attempted $4 billion cut from disabled veterans compensation? Well, “they’re ba-ack…” Except this time they are looking to cut away at our VA healthcare.

Republican Paul Ryan and the House of Representatives are looking to end VA healthcare benefits for disabled veterans – that’s for over 1.3 million veterans who are Priority 7 & 8. These veterans are the least disabled veterans using the system, usually with disability ratings of 0 percent or no service-connected disability.

According to the Congressional Budget Office “Option 35,” the cuts would leave 130,000 veterans with no healthcare alternative. This means veterans with conditions not recognized by the VA, like certain diseases from Agent Orange exposure, would have to pay for healthcare out of pocket if they had not other service connected disability.

Currently, the VA spends over $4 billion yearly on benefits for disabled veterans to treat them, despite co-pays intended to offset the expense. Ryan’s cuts are intended to save $6 billion off the VA’s tab and $62 billion over the next 10 years. Instead of merely increasing the co-pay or taxing Wall Street, Congress wants to just cut your benefits out, all together.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is fighting the across the board cut because many of the veterans in question have come to rely on VA healthcare over the years. In times when healthcare costs are astronomical, these veterans will go without the care they were promised, if the proposal becomes law. DAV voiced additional concerns that this attempt is just the start of a gradual and specifically focused erosion of veterans’ benefits.

Sweet sweetness. What chaps my hide the most is that the reason for the cuts is to reduce the U.S. budget deficit. All the while, two-thirds of major American corporations didn’t pay taxes this year after receiving bailout money and reporting record profits as a result. GE only paid up after receiving a great deal of negative press.

These corporations and the executives who run them benefit a great deal from our American system: U.S. Military, Roads and Railways, the Judicial System, Education for workers and the like. So, they get high profits and protection while we get …?

Let’s not forget that without our military, corporations wouldn’t be able to set up shop in so many countries internationally. Without tax dollars, the U.S. could not pay for the government contracts awarded to GE, Textron, Google, etc. Yet, they pay a very limited amount in taxes and provide fewer jobs than promised via Reagonomics.

It appears this is more of a “Trickle-On Economics” rather than Trickle-Down. I think when Warren Buffett said he should be paying more taxes, I finally woke up to what he meant. Those who benefit the most from a system of government should pay a fair share of the profits they earned. Meanwhile, companies like Google take advantage of tax loopholes only very wealthy corporations can take advantage of while small businesses get hit disproportionately to cover military spending and similar programs.

Now, the House of Representatives has decided to propose cuts to benefits for disabled veterans while supporting a third war in a country most of us could not even find on a map two months ago (if the proposed cuts went through).

Don’t believe the headlines. These cuts are just an attempt to split the oyster shell in half to steal the pearl. Once 1.3 million bodies get cut out of the VA system, politicians will have an easier time justifying further cuts to VA programs.

Suddenly, the comprehensive health care you once received will be reduced to occasional physicals and virtual appointments via computer. Count on it.

And don’t think the politicians will stop until they gut the whole system. Many of them call benefits like Social Security and VA Disability “Entitlements.” Rather, VA healthcare is really just a cost of doing business. You break it; you buy it. Wall Street and Corporate America need to pony up their share and keep their mitts off our hard earned benefits.

Vote on whether or not veterans should shoulder the burden for deficit reductions.

Update: the cuts discussed above did not make the “markup.” Once the topic was run up the flagpole, public outcry caused the House to go back to the drawing board. Instead, the House cut spending for the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims by half of the requested funds from the White House.

This court is one of the last resorts for veterans’ disability appeals. Meanwhile, they did allow funding for the VA to police the hand washing of its employees using RFID technology. So while veterans may not get the care they need or the disability rating they deserve, VA employees will not have pee on their hands.

At least the government contractor responsible for implementing the system will get paid.

Voc Rehab Survival Guide Benjamin Krause is the creator of the DisabledVeterans.org community, author of the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans, and numerous other guides. 

Benjamin is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Law attorney, and a disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, Benjamin began his decade long fight for benefits after being lowballed with a 10% rating in 2002. During that fight, he received degrees from Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School while using VA Vocational Rehabilitation. He credits his education as the key factor that helped him beat through the bureaucratic roadblocks the Department of Veterans Affairs throws up in front of many veterans across the country.

You can connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. Bob says

    It adds up that all the military are fighting wars, being killed, having bodies all torn to pieces, not being able to get promised health care for injuries, it is all a scheme to enable the Republicans & their 1 %ers to conduct business as above usual, enriching themselves & their cohorts to record highs. Then the Vet & his family get nothing, not even a decent job. It means we as patriots are not fighting for our country, but only for the Congressmen & the 1 %ers as enablers !!! Sad & it will change maybe not in my lifetime, & some of them may be in jail where they belong !!! HOPFULLY !!!

  2. Jean LaCrosse says

    How dare they – those jokers in Washington get their salaries and healthcare for life. Veterans put their lives on the line, some get injured, some ailments don’t show up until late in life, and those trouble makers want to cut our benefits. I guess so we’ll have to sign up for Obamacare! This government needs a COMPLETE change.

  3. Robert says

    Hello I am disable vet from Texas I have drawing benefits since the late 90s I take a drug name Quetiapine the most costly out all them all. I can not buy it out of my pocket. Every time I hear about cuts it makes me sick and I wonder how far they are going to take it each time they cut benefits. A few years I got a new doc and she cut my dosage by 2/3s I did ok for a while than I started to have problems. I had to ask her over and over to up the dosage. It been an long hard fight to get her to do it. Some feel the V.A.well go to great lengths to hurt us V.E.T.S. I am sick now and some time I am out of control my mood swings are wide and I am afraid that congress well try to do away with system that many of us depend up on for our health. I am also afraid of them try to cut all other benefits. All it well take is about six weeks for my monthly checks to stop coming, and I be homeless again. IF congress does what they say. They well set many vets on a course of death. I have not work in 15 years. I have gone back to college paying for most it out of my pocket in case this happens. I can not get a job at Wal-Mart as greeter part time because I have not worked so along. I am sick I am tired I well not last a year if the benefits are cut like congress wants to do. If congress cut the benefits the way they want. Why not march most of us out to the firing squad so we well not have to suffer. The country that us vets protected is try to leave us high and dry. I am sick of this I am sick of hearing how congress want to do away with the V. A. In six weeks after they cut benefits I well be homeless again I know there well be others that well be in the same boat.

  4. Rick says

    Sen Thune and House member Kristi Noem both have come to Hot Springs SD claiming that they helping Hot Springs residents stop the closing of the Hot Springs VA Center. Then they both support cutting VA benefits. They will both say whatever it takes to get re elected in S.D. (which will happen). Our residents of the state won’t make the effort to look into their real agenda. SAD

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Republican’s War on Veterans Benefits Continues __________________ "The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment." -Bertrand Russell http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-190.htm The SEC of Cox under Bush held up the protections in the GLBA for years. They allowed the banks to get arround the protections. [...]

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