Jon Stewart Nails It On Veterans Choice Card

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Benjamin KrauseThe Veterans Choice Card debacle met its match this week when Jon Stewart hammered Veterans Affairs over its ridiculous “as a crow flies” 40-mile measurement system. The very next day, VA changed its tune and ended its straight-line measurement system.

RELATED: Veterans Choice Farce Exposed By Dying Veteran

You may not be familiar with the Veterans Choice Card and its related problems if you have been living under a rock on veterans issues. For the rest of us, the program has posed a unique problem because it gave America the impression veterans actually had a choice.

Come to find out, Congress severely restricted the actual “choice” veterans have by ensuring VA made two major decisions to keep costs low. Real “veterans choice” would cost around $50 billion, but politicians across the aisle opted for using the sound byte without allowing most veterans who wanted choice to actually have that choice.

RELATED: Outcry Over Lack Of Veterans Choice

The recently reversed restriction was using the “crow flies” measurement. Its removal resulted in the program immediately doubling in cost to $20 billion. The second restriction is the “40 miles from the nearest VA facility” restriction. The problem with the latter is that it means a veteran is not eligible so long as they are near a facility regardless if the kind of care the veteran needs is even offered by the facility.

Two examples of this were covered on the Daily Show including my client Paul Walker. VA told Paul Walker he had stage four liver cancer. Paul lives over 40 miles away from the facility he needs to see for cancer treatment, but he lives only 20 miles from a VA dental clinic. A VA operator denied his request for care on national news.

After word got out three weeks ago, public outcry followed. That outcry and similar stories pushed VA to make a reversal of its “crow flies” measure in three weeks. That never happened in the Shinseki Veterans Affairs.

Source: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/b8rw1k/doctor-when

namnibor

THAT WAS AWESOME!!! We could use his wide reaching voice to place flame throwers under the VA….great coverage and only in a way Stewart could do it. Thanks for this uplifting post. I think I may even sleep a bit better tonight.

Mike
Mike

Jon Stewart for President! I had a thought last night and today I ordered a gross of T- Shirt’s with various saying’s “that matter!” Actually one of the sayings is, !SKCUS AV EHT

namnibor

@Mike-
Love that “SKCUS AV EHT”…it almost looks Latin. Isn’t Jon Stewart also retiring very soon from his show? I certainly would vote for him for President of USA…no questions asked.

Mike
Mike
Mr. Naminbor, I totally agree that Jon Stewart would be a great choice for being a President! I as you probably have followed his and Steven Colbear (spelling) shows for a long while. Jon makes since and is not afraid to challenge those that are so in the wrong or mislead the public on purpose…My printing is not Latin (kind of seems like it though) ‘SKCUS AV EHT’ back words for “THE VA SUCKS!” could not manipulate the letters to… Read more »
figure8fan
This may have been the best help we have gotten so far. John Stewart has such a good way to show how things are so messed up and no one cares. He brings things to the forefront and shoes how wrong some things are in this world and how they should be done. I am going t miss him when he leaves the show. I am starting to think that the public is starting to take notice that we are… Read more »
Robert Erhard Sr.
The Buffalo DVA denied my claim for compensation as late as December 2013; I was released from active-duty July 3, 1969. The Buffalo DVA claimed that of government resources, including their own INtraNET , the Buffalo DVA could not find record of my service in Vietnam exposed to herbicides, etc.. Yet, ,The Buffalo DVA had record of My DD-214. The DD-214 lists that I have the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars; the Vietnam Campaign Medal (at least 6… Read more »
CorpsmanuP! (@Tang1967)

Thank you for your service!

amie
amie

my dad served in vietnam and he fought the va since 2006 to get his disablity it finiallly took him to write a newspaper article to get it and i want to thank everyone that was in the service

stanman47
stanman47

So what does this have to do with veteran’s Choice benefit?
Please people stay on topic.

Scott
Scott

After serving honorably over 25 years, I changed my SGLI over to VGLI…but because the VA says I am disabled…they denied my VGLI and forced me to take the lesser VDLI (Veterans’ Disability Insurance). What a load of crap the VA puts out there!

TAC US Army & US Navy
TAC US Army & US Navy
I agree 100%! The “choice card” IS “NO CHOICE” for Veterans! We have been given a ‘bone’ and have been told to accept it or else! Mr. McDonald is no better than any of his predessers. Of course, what would anyone expect from a person who ran P & G. Look at what that corporation has been up to for decades! Just last year, March 2014, Greenpeace ‘called them out’ over the use of ‘dirty Palm Oil’! I grew up… Read more »
J. EDWARD VERNON jr.
J. EDWARD VERNON jr.

PRAISE GOD, AMEN and AMEN.

Harold Owens

i just called that center 1 866 606-8198,, all i got was the old 3 step again,,,this card is not worth the paper and time it took to print it

Amy

Well said Jon Stewart!!! Let’s get more celebrities shining a light on this issue!

Jim Starowicz
Jon, Jon, Jon, I see you’re getting a Lot of credit from the piece you did awhile ago on the VA and the policy update they just implemented about the ‘choice’ program. Let me, a vet, explain something. The VA is the people served, including us who did and are in the community now, Responsibility!! That means through your Gov. Reps you’re supposed to be Fully Funding, which hasn’t been for decades and wars from, especially! The hypocrisy from someone… Read more »
Jim Starowicz
Still seeking ways to privatize, quicker, the people served responsibility, nothing about being socialized but Sacrifice Ignored, for corporate bottom line profits and bring in all the problems in the private sector that aren’t taken care of while flush with capital!!!! What brings on the political media hyped conservative ‘scandals’, “If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by… Read more »
Kurt Priessman, MSgt, USAF (Ret)
Kurt Priessman, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

You’re Independent? Then why is everyone you cite a progressive (spelled Communist)?

sean
sean

OH dear. You raising that old tired flag Kurt. The quotes were NOT communist, just facts. don’t you get it, WE are ALL getting screwed. so stop slinging your fears that the reds are coming to a REAL time issue that affects ALL Veterans.
Its time to forge a united front.

Kurt Priessman, MSgt, USAF (Ret)
Kurt Priessman, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

They fixed the wrong problem PEOPLE!!! Have you all forgotten they use any kind of clinic. So there’s a VA Dental clinic 25 miles away, BUT YOU HAVE A HEART [email protected]*#! Wake up!!!!

Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
Just as in workers compensation, our top employees/WORKERS, our soldiers, get the shaft, because the DOD invented cost cutting in both VA & WC benefits (public & private). The DOD has a lot to answer for but who will HOLD the DOD responsible and accountable for the many millions,( the DOD caused to make ill, hurt, maimed or killed) it makes profit from?. THE obscene profit has been going on for decades since the Viet Nam war with no end… Read more »
sean
sean

The DOD budget is completely separate from the VA budget and will fight for every penny form congress AND more and they get it, resulting in the VA getting whats left.

Richard Donegan
“Jon Stewart for President” That was my exact same thought when I saw his show and read the article. Lots of people like him, and lots don’t. God bless him for his segment on this farce. Like him or hate him, at least he publicly uncovered this to the masses who only know the CYA we see on TV each night from the mainstream media on how Congress and new Director are taking steps to fix the VA’s problems and… Read more »
stanman47
stanman47
What responsibility does the VA assume for treating veterans who have no service connected disabilities? Moreover, why should the VA pay a non VA physician or other provider, to treat a veteran who has no service connected disabilities? The VA was set up to care for those who bore the battle. It is now turning into a welfare system. I get it. If a person puts in 2 or 3 years of honorable service there should be benefits. And there… Read more »
figure8fan
Here is the link to the VA’s Webpage that describes the priority groups. You have conveniently forgot about the co-pays that are established and other parts of this benefit that was stated to every vet that if they served, they may be eligible for healthcare. I don’t see how us vets are whining about something that was promised to us. I don’t see how a vet can belittle his fellow vets and tell them they are whining. http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/priority_groups.asp Priority Groups… Read more »
Robert Uranium Foreal
Robert Uranium Foreal
@Stanman…….You sound almost like the VA itself wanting to deny medical care for non-service connected disabilities or health care in general. I’m a Vietnam ERA veteran. I volunteered in 1973 while the war was still going. The government plastered all over the television that if you joined RIGHT NOW you’d receive “FREE MEDICAL FOR LIFE”. So I joined. I could’ve gone to Nam, but didn’t. So by putting my life on the line when I joined the draft you think… Read more »
Doc
Doc
This also for Stanman! I was wounded in 1967 and from those wounds I received a military retirement. I choose to use the VA Medical…fast forward to today and reviewing my medical records, I’ve wasted my time, jeopardized my life and lost ALL trust in that entire VA Medical System. They just talk, talk and waste taxpayer’s $$$ on all that KY they use! The VA in Northern California suck’s and anyone defending the VA is a ether working for… Read more »
jonathan
jonathan
You are right. If the damn piece of fecal matter government says they are going to take care of us vets, then they should. Hell we said we’d do our duty and we did. I don’t know who the sorry individual is that thinks the VA shouldn’t take care of us is, but what the hell else do you think they should spend it on? They certainly don’t mind spending it on those pieces of crap in congress. Or on… Read more »
Jon w
Jon w
Hmmm kinda agree with some of that … But I can’t get treatment for anything … I’m 70 % All combat related Combat And of course 70% means I’m around 140% actualy … I can’t get the va to do anything … Except get me my Prozac There quick with that… Oh ya and starting the process on having me decleard incompetent … I’m 30% PTSD So the regional office is having me decleard incompetent … They started that process… Read more »
robert raub

va is good for pain pills. Percocet 8 aday and gabapentin 1 for 7 days 2 for t day for 7 \days then 3 times a day as needed\of course you might get sick taking the gabapentin

molemann

Veterans Choice is a complete disaster.
That about covers it from mine and many other’s experiences.

Manya
Manya
I waited 30days for a appointment with provider. Clerk deleted it so I made a new one. Same clerk cancelled it w/o informing me rescheduled it again not informing me. I’ve made complaints for 15 yrs now tired cant take it anymore. Will go into debt using Medicare insurance. I have heart issues not ever followed up on by provider. EKG no techs. Fibromyalgia no pain clinic. Claims being denied all paperwork there. Done will take out all my aniexty… Read more »
Valerie D

The TriWest/Open Choice programs contracts cost $18.9 million in 2014 compared to the $4 million it would have cost NOT to use the TriWest/Open Choice programs, and just keep going directly through the VA. And the Inspector General’s office couldn’t figure out how the contracts were substantiated in terms of “costs savings.” For more info go to http://www.va.gov/oig/ and type in “TriWest” in the search box, and you will get two documents that reveal what a mess this all is.

Carr
Carr
I have a service connected disability, and it took me 6 years to get any level of care. Then another 7 years to get physical therapy. After being approved for physical therapy and told to use the Veteran’s Choice program. I have had nothing but problems getting them to pay the doctor that they approved me to go to. Since March it has been a constant phone hassle to get a simple address changed. An address that will allow the… Read more »
Linda L. Lado
Carr – you are right on. I am a 100% combat service related veteran. I have been trying to get a VA health care provider since November 2014. I have spent hours calling a bunch of numbers and the Veterans Choice Program is a joke. The Phoenix VA deserves all of the negative press, worse yet, it is getting less efficient, and mismanaged care is rampert. I have spoken with VA officials and still no change. I am almost at… Read more »
Michael betz
Michael betz
I understand, I am a not combat vet. But I suffer from ptsd. I’m having trouble as well getting the promised care. 1 false pregnancy briefing, and my twin daughters are dead. Too bad i’m a man. 7 of my last 8 mh appointments were cancelled, one on the day my children died. Then I work there and over heard three providers in the hallway stating that .we come there just for checks. How about that. I complained , and… Read more »
Charles Raymond Anderson
Charles Raymond Anderson

I am a 65 nearly 66 year old combat veteran of the War in Viet Nam with over 104 combat missions. I have been fighting the VA for more than 6 years to get benefits that I earned. I called the VA and was told the average wait time for my claim to be processed was roughly 450 days. This is RIDICULOUS. The VA personnel should be purged leaving only those who actually do something FOR the vets.

Reuben Castro Acosta

VA ONE BIG BIG FEDRAL RICO CRIME RACKET FROM AFGE UNION CONTRACTS HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Phil Yenovkian

The Choice Program is a farce. Under Obama and like many other federal programs, VA care is virtually non-existent for many vets. The Choice Program was nothing more than something the Administration can point to and say “see what we did”. No one ever looked back to see that things actually got better. How sad.

Adam Welsch
Adam Welsch

10 Billion dollars was already stolen in the last 10 years from the veterans affairs. so who stole that money?

Adam Welsch
Adam Welsch
The Choice program is 2 tier program 1. veterans who have an appointment but it is more than 30 days 2. veterans who need to see a specialist that the VA does not have the problem is that they combine both tiers when they are separate. tier 2 should not have been included in the Choice program it should have only been fee basis clerks, tier 1 fine if the veteran wants to see a provider before his appointment which… Read more »
Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens
I live 38 mile from the VA clinic back four years ago I was contracted out to a fine Orthopedic/neurosurgon on the Fee Based program. I was very satisfied with his care I saw him for a year and a half, Then they said the cost where prohibitive and scheduled me for the VA pain clinic sixty miles away, but my wait time was 60-90 days for a appointment. Oh by the way the VA pain clinic is 240 miles… Read more »
bob garner

The biggest reason the Choice Card does not work in one word. ”UNION”
All federal employees are eligible to join the union. And most receive a good deal of pressure to join. The unions know that if the choice card works many will be out of a choosy job.

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