Remember Michele Bachmann’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 health care.
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 health care 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 ten years. Instead of merely increasing the co-pay or taxing Wall Street, Congress wants just to 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 health care over the years. In times when health care 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.
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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 the largest American corporations didn’t pay taxes this year after receiving bailout money and reporting record profits as a result. GE only paid up after having received 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. They pay a very limited amount in taxes and provide fewer jobs than promised via Reaganomics.
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 health care is 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 U.S. 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.