Senator Called Veterans Choice Fix A ‘Blank Check’ Entitlement

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Senator Jeff Sessions

Benjamin KrauseDo you remember when Sen. Jeff Sessions spun his despicable opposition to Veterans Choice by calling the bill a “blank check” fix to a new “unlimited entitlement program”? Well I do.

When spinning his opposition vote, Sen. Sessions said, “I feel strongly we’ve got to do the right thing for our veterans. But I don’t think we should create a blank check, an unlimited entitlement program, now.” He is referencing the highly restrictive Veterans Choice Card Program. Apparently the only blank check Sen. Sessions is comfortable with is one that funds new wars or defense spending projects.

As we have since learned, the Veterans Choice Program was anything but a blank check. It precluded most veterans from accessing the program by using a 40-mile crow flies measurement and additional roadblocks. Following pressure including that from a client of my law firm, Paul Walker, the program was further expanded to remove the “crow flies” measure model since no one travels like a crow.

RELATED: VA reverses “crow flies” measurement

Now, do you not recall the actual bill saying “blank check” for a new “entitlement program?” I don’t. In fact, it was a temporary program to allow time for VA to fix its VA healthcare delivery model. Veterans clamored to access to such a program, and who can blame them?

The reason I bring this up is to ask your position on increased access to healthcare for veterans.

If bill did say “blank check,” is such a provision wrong or unwarranted? America did sent her soldiers off to fight wars in foreign lands many Americans would never wish to see. Does it not seem fair and just to take care of those brave men and women harmed in such wars?

Curiously, Sen. Sessions is one of the first Senators to saber rattle whenever such Chickenhawks want to fight another war, such as against Iran.

RELATED: Jeff Sessions part of #47traitors trending on twitter for signing Senate letter to Iran

Does America need to implement another draft to ensure its elected officials fully appreciate the cost of war while sitting comfortably in their gated communities?

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/us-usa-veterans-senate-idUSKBN0EM2HU20140612

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33 Comments

  1. Well I hope that this program works as I’ve heard so many negative things about it. I had va scheduling call me for an appointment to get a colonoscopy ASAP due to having C-Diff for approximately 31/2 months which may have destroyed my colon causing Toxic Megacolon which would entail them to take part or all of my colon. Unfortunately they didn’t have an appointment opening until mid July. I called Veterans Choice and was told that I had to first wait to get a Veterans Choice Card and then call them back between 7-10 days from the time they scheduled my appointment to see if they could get me in sooner and get this done. I am a 100% service connected Veteran with an R-2 rated Veteran and will update you on how long it will take to get this serious procedure done. Besides waiting 7-10 more days to call to see if they can get me in, I don’t know how much longer I can take all of this stomach cramping caused by this C-diff even though I finished my treatment for it. I do want to thank you for all you have done. Tim Ramos

    • Mr Ramos ,I am so very sorry to hear that you to contracted C-Diff. can I ask where your from ,I am here in Mo,and 1 year ago I also got C-diff ,and I to am [email protected] 100 % disabled. This last year has been a battle ,I am only 51 and cannot get better. & certainly cannot get. VA or even civillian Dr to help me because I complained when I got C-Diff ,I posted something on here last week about it and other Veterans were telling me that C-diff running rampant in the clinics Something in me has changed and is scaring me I’m in a fog cannot concentrate I don’t think I will be around much longer cannot get anyone to help Don’t know what to do ,I will pray you get better Gary @ [email protected] any time

  2. Yes, Senator Sessions has absolutely NO PROBLEM jumping into this war and that war, even appropriations for MORE WAR….but…he is of the rank that does not want to pay for the real costs of said wars.
    He is owned, bought, signed/sealed, delivered, by the Koch Brothers, Inc. That bag of air should perhaps spend an afternoon at any given VAMC and get a reality check of the real state of things.
    Why should Senator Sessions care when he’s got the VERY BEST medical coverage in the Country? Why, they have even made SURE to make them LEGALLY EXEMPT from being required to use “Obama Care”…he was one of the rabid pack that made sure their own cushy health insurance would not be affected.

    Sen. Sessions is indeed a self-absorbed ass with his head so far “up there” that when he burps he farts~!

    If I were I Senator, I would be more concerned with WHY the VA was granted even more Billions for an already funded program (The Choice Program), when the VA was caught restricting access to said program?

    Sen. Sessions indeed is a special kind of stupid as a so-called Public Servant.

  3. Let’s take a vote. Does anybody really believe that the government can change the culture at the VA? Democrats want the government to control it all, despite the total failure at every level and in the majority of programs it has tackled.

    Republicans like Sessions are afraid we are going to bankrupt the system. So what services will be offered when the money runs out? First, Social Security disability, then Medicare, then Obamacare, then Social Security. What the hell are we going to do when it all comes tumbling down?

    While some vets (mostly those who get a pittance for their disabilities, >90% and below) are forced to rely on the VA. Some vets truly get good service at a nearby VA. Most vets I know wouldn’t go to a VA hospital or clinic if their lives depended on it. I rely on Medicare/Tricare for Life.

    There are so many problems with the VA, from denials for disability compensation and rehab, to ineffective and sometimes criminal programs (fiduciaries for one) that work to the detriment of veterans. The dips at the VA truly believe that their mission is to oversee (which means deny) monies for the taxpayers, not to help veterans. I have for many years believed that the VA should be torn down.

    Everyday, my abhorrence to government has led me to the conclusion that DC’s power should be ended, else secession will be the only alternative. But under no circumstances will I adhere to policies from what namnibor calls stupid. I just want to die in peace and with a minimum of harassment, which is what we get from the left.

  4. I grow weary of the B.S. spewed from each branch of government. Especially when I am called a liar? REALLY? SO WHEN I GOT MY RECORDS YOU COULD NOT FIND GEE, WHAT DO YOU KNOW IT WAS EXACTLY AS STATED, I WAS IN SHOCK OVER SOME IDIOTS REACTION SINCE NO THANK YOU HE COULD NOT GET, PUSH ME? BE READY BECAUSE NOW YOU SHALL GET IT. THE LYING AND MANIPULATIONS OF RECORDS IGNORING REQUESTS TO CALL AFTER A CERTAIN TIME AND WHAT GOVERNMENT FORMS SHOULD YOU NOT TYPE YOUR NAME BEFORE SIGNING LIKE A ONE YEAR OLD WITH A PEN? OH PLEASE, BRING IN THE IG AND HER BIGGEST BLUNDER, GEE CANNOT READ THE FIRST STATED LIME AND MORE DAMAGE DONE? GOOD LUCK WITH THE RESULTS, A NOOSE AWAITS YOU, I GUARANTEE THAT! ASK ME, WHO ARE THE GATE KEEPERS? GOOD LUCK ON FINDING THE ANSWERS! LET US SPEAK OF PROTOCOLS, I KNOW MANY AND YOU? QUITE FRANKLY BEN YOU’VE KIND OF DISAPPOINTED ME, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY MY CASE COULD HAVE GIVEN YOU? MORE THAN 25 GRAND. BUT BUDDY YOU ARE AND PLAYING NOW ON THEIR TEAM, YES I KNOW YOU SHALL ERASE THIS SO NOBODY SEES. BUT YOU BELIEVE SHE HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR MANY. OH THAT IS TRUE, WHEN NOW SOME MORE DAMAGE IS DONE I GUESS I MAY END UP WITH MILLIONS FROM TORT LAWS! (YUP, IN THE WORKS BEN, I AM ONE WHO KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG MEDICINE!)
    THOSE REPUBLICANS WHO WISH TO SEE HER FIRED? I NOW SAY I AGREE WITH THEM!

  5. Does this right to outside care require the VA to pay for things such as a Colonoscopy if they do not get you in when they are required to? I was suppose to have one done around November by for sure in 2015 but not heard a word from the VA. I would prefer to go to outside doctors. I do not like the fact that the VA uses so many what I refer to as student Doctors…..Doctors still learning and we are the test subjects….I have my ratings and now think I should switch to outside doctors and hospitals and just see the VA periodically…….just see a primary care doctor off an on….not sure how I can get out of the system and still get my benefits…..I heard that is you did that then the VA would take another look at your claim and reduce your percentages and thus the money that you receive

    • Call your VA appointment scheduling and tell them you want the colonoscopy within the next month. If they cannot give you an appointment they are supposed to allow you outside care (the 40 mile rule does not apply) However, if they can refer you to a larger VA within the same VISN, then you are out of luck (you may have to travel several hundred miles).

      Failing that, you can call the fee basis people and see if they will pay for the colonoscopy. However, I doubt it.

      By delaying the colonoscopy you are endangering your health. If you have Medicare, costs are generally covered if you are over 50 unless a polyp is found and then it becomes diagnostic and co-insurance amounts would apply (but not deductibles).

      I am 100% service connected and am changing over to private doctors. One of which I just went to yesterday and who diagnosed a problem I have had for 3 years. I told at least 3 VA doctors my symptoms, and they all said nothing was wrong with me after ordering tests.

      I have had two colonoscopies at the VA and would never go have another one done there. The last time the procedure was supposed to be done at 10AM. and take about an hour to an hour and a half (prep time and recovery). I was there until 2PM until I was wheeled into the operating room and didn’t leave the VA until 4:30. No one apologized because no one gives a damn.

      Plus, I think you need some level of confidence in the doctor who is shoving something that long up your butt.

      • Are you not endangering your 100%? I thought the VA can come back and change those amounts and seem inclined to do so if you are going to outside Doctors?

      • @John-
        I happen to be 100% P&T Service Connected but I also have Medicare and I only use civilian Dr.’s and NOT the VAMC’s for anything. There’s no penalty for doing so, as it’s not costing the VA anything since I pay my own premiums and all copays for meds as well as Medicare Part D Drug Plan’s monthly premium.
        Yes, it costs me much more using Medicare but I have that choice and I realize we are the minority that indeed have this choice, but I think you may be dealing with some “VA Urban Legends” as far as if [a Veteran uses outside civilian Dr.’s instead of VA then places their VA Disability % in danger], never heard of that nor ever read about it happening anywhere on hadit.com or starsandstripes specific to a Veteran using outside civilian Dr.’s.
        This is how wacko the VA is: Say I DID use the VA but wanted my Medicare billed, well the VA looks upon Medicare as the FIRST payee, then the VA waits and waits to pay their share, if ever, and by time the VA may have gotten round to actually paying, YOU have already been sent to collections by Medicare and the VA’s payment get bounced around…a true nightmare for some.
        I have more than enough daily stress to deal with than to place myself in that mouth of madness. Hope this helped to a degree.
        OH! A 100% Service Connected Veteran **can** also receive Social Security SSDI (not to be confused with SSI/Welfare), with no offset or penalty as long as 1) Veteran actually can qualify for SSDI and has 10 solid years work credits, 2) MUST BE 100% Military Service Connected, and 3) with SSDI, once awarded, the stupid rule is you have to wait 24 months to qualify for Medicare. Note: the hard road of qualifying for SSDI is actually quite a bit harder than applying for VA Service Connected Compensation. See, the VA and Social Security WILL NOT share medical information with each other, even though BOTH are gov’t agencies, so that meant I had to do 4x the work because I was doing BOTH at same time….never want to go through that maddening process again as it was extremely draining in every way!
        Peace.

      • Thank you….I would try the SSDI but I do not have any doctors to go to….what all all my heath issues other than the VA but I want to get out of there….to many problems and dangers…I am planning on moving closer to a friend of mine and when I get their I will look for some good doctors close to me down there….I will keep my regualar appointments with the VA doctor…just to keep them happy….LOL….and then tell the other Doctor what the VA says so he can have a laugh….LO:
        take care brother

      • John, I didn’t have a clue who to go to when I made the decision of switching from the VA to private doctors. I asked neighbors and friends for referrals. I didn’t like the attitude of one private doctor I was referred to and told him, I won’t be following up with you. It felt really good telling him that. I found another specialist who is great. That is what is missing with the VA – choice. My VAMC seems to have one of most specialties. However, if you don’t like him or her, your basically S.O.L.

        One other thing, you can quickly look up on healthgrades.com or vitals.com a doctors credentials, and patient ratings. You can do that for VA doctors also, but since you are a captive audience to the VA and their is no accountability, it really matters little. One thing I urge all vets to do is rate their VA doctor on these sites. If they are great, fine. If they are the type I have run into, let your fellow vet know.

        I go to my VA PCP once a year and let him know what my civilian doctors diagnosis and treatments are as they occur. But that is only so I can get my medication through the VA.

        I have outright told my PCP my level of confidence in the VA is zero.

        Finally, they cannot screw with your rating based on going to civilian doctors. Ratings are routinely reviewed, it is just easier if the RO can pull your medical files from the VA. If you have a review of your rating and they propose a reduction, all you do is appeal and provide private medical transcripts.

  6. Session’s is totally oblivious about the realities of VA health care, and that’s because he doesn’t have to partake in any of it like us disabled veterans have to. I can’t see where you can call Veterans Choice Card an entitlement when all it’s supposed to do is make needed medical care more readily available. As far as I’m concerned,Session’s can fly as straight as the crow flies up my “entitled” backside!

    • Namnibor, I would like to correct you on a couple of misperceptions. I also am 100% P&T, have Medicare A & B, and as a retiree, also have Tricare for Life. I filed for VA disability comp first, and about nine months later filed for SSDI. It took more than 4 years for VA, and 4 years for SSDI. They backdated my VA to 2007, then backdated Medicare to two months prior to that. But I waited to take Part B because I had Tricare and the back-payment for Part B would have been $2,400. They wanted me to pay back the hospital. after the backdate negated some of my Tricare Prime payments. I appealed on the basis that at the time of care I did not have Medicare, and should not be penalized for the incompetence of the VA. I won, the law was changed. The VA made me 100% when I filed that I had SSDI, not the other way around.

      And by the way, as in 110% of the cases of problems, the VA is required by HIPAA to give information to the SSA and to all other physicians and as usual they are in violation of federal law. BTW, I was the regional HIPAA coordinator for a DHHS sub-agency and worked with CMS on the law. Hope this finds you well.

      • I am not quite following your “corrections to misperceptions”.

        I received SSDI firstly while still waiting (at that time) for the VA Service Connected Claim to be approved or not. I started receiving SSDI shy of two years before the VA Svc. Connection was finally awarded. I do not use Tricare as I am not a retiree.
        I had more than enough medical evidence and IMO’s to support both claims. However, it took being denied three times by Soc. Security and at that time, Soc. Sec. told me it would take a minimum of THREE YEARS before an Admn. Judge would even look at my case.
        I was literally near death’s door, in and out of hospital more than I care to remember at time.
        I got one of my State’s Senators involved and magically, within three months my claim was seen by an Admn. Judge and not only approved, but the judge admonished Social Security Determination Agency for their outright ignorance.
        Regardless of HIPPA, I was told on MORE than one occasion by BOTH VA Dr.’s and Social Security, that they WILL NOT share information as far as medical info…and I know for fact I am not alone in this because most VA Dr.’s actually REFUSE to even fill out forms required by Soc. Sec., and I unfortunately heard the same from both horse’s mouths and entirely different individuals as well from both gov’t. agencies.

        So there’s definitely a “disconnect” that exists, regardless of how it’s supposed to work.

        Anyway, I do not know how I may have provided any inkling of a misperception…just told it like it is and still remains.

  7. I’m my opinion, any veteran waiting a week for care should be able to go ANYWHERE outside the VA for care. If this happened, then Congress might finally get off their asses and fix the VA instead of ignoring it year after year. You can damn well vet no Congressman waits more than a day for any health care they need. In addition, if Congress were serious about providing veterans proper health care, they would pass a law requiring a percentage of any money allocated for combat operations to be used for the health care of those veterans. Want to waste a trillion in a war? 10% of that should come right off the top and be mandated for the care of vets when they come home.
    I am so sick of any Congressman or Senator pissing away billions on frivolous things then whining when it comes time to pay for health care for the very veterans they sent in to battle.
    Blank check? New entitlement? Veterans were promised health care for injuries and illnesses incurred while in service. Don’t want to pay for it? Then don’t send them into battle.

    • Oh how I agree if I had to wait the usual time to a simple test I would be dead right now. Yet through due diligence my cancer was cured saving my 60 yr old life.

    • I certainly agree veterans shouldn’t have to wait for care. However, a one week wait is not realistic for non-emergency care. My last visit to a private specialist was two weeks out. There were appointments available three days earlier but they didn’t coincide with my schedule.

      To see what the VA would do, I called my PCP and asked for a referral for the same type specialist. I then called scheduling and was told it would be 6 weeks before the first available appointment and it would be at 8AM. I drive 68 miles to my VA, meaning I would have to get up around 4:30 in the morning to make it. I told the scheduler it would not be acceptable as it was past 30 days. They offered me an appointment at a larger VA facility in the same VISN in three weeks. The problem with this appointment was, it was also early in the morning and I would have to drive 118 miles one way. This meant I would have to leave my house by 4:30 in the morning. This is how the VA is getting around the appointment time issues.

      Recently the VA decided to hire private firms in a pilot program to provide community care. How stupid is the VA? They spent $17 million dollars to the contractors who were oversee and administer the program in the first year (including paying private providers). If the VA just told the veterans to go to a community healthcare provider who accepted Medicare and reimbursed on those rates (the VA reimburses on a VA schedule or Medicare reimbursement rates) the VA would have saved $13,000,000. Common sense is not one of the VA’s strong suits.

      • Dan, setting them at 8am tells me they do it deliberately hoping the veteran will refuse the appointment. They then claim they met their timelines, but the vet refused. It reminds of of years ago when the VA scheduled all vets in all clinics for 8am. Chest med on Thursday, 8am for all, Ortho on Wednesday, 8am for all. 40-50 vets all showing up for an 8am appointment, then waiting all day to be seen. Go to the bathroom or to get something to eat and miss your name being called resulted in automatic rescheduling.

  8. I’m a 100% disabled Viet-Nam Era(Cold War) vet. It took me close to 20 years to get properly evauated for Spinal cord injuries, Enclosed Head injury and a painful, as well as, useless left ankle. All brought on by two and a half years of sea duty on a Tin-Can Escort. I go to a clinic that’s over 65 miles away, which offers me great medical care from an outstanding staff of dedicated people. I hesitate to compliment them because I fear If Washington finds out how well they’re doing the may turn it back into their model of inefficiency.

    The VA opened a clinic in the next town, about 30 miles away, But, it is under staffed. My experiency there has been a deep feeling abandonment . Sitting in the waiting area, the sounds of squeeking brakes and traffic can be heard. The silence was unnerving.

    I received a Choice card in the mail. I didn’t know what it was for. The enclosed paperwork said something about “fee-basis”. So, I called the VA. After some disclosure of some personal info. The VA rep. told me I wasn’t eligible because there was a clinic within the range limits. I asked why they sent me this card if I wasn’t qualified. The VA rep stated that the cards were sent to all veterans registered with the VA.

    I found this method of spreading information about new benefits demorilizing. They got my hopes up that “red-tape” was being cut from my dailey-needed medical care and to find out it was useless, really sparked my depression that I’m being treated for, also.

    I knew our government wasn’t going to be able to handle all the returning vets health care when they rushed into Iraq with what was apparent very little after thought about the overall cost of war. A large majority of Congress jumped on the bandwagon, waving the flag, appearing patriotic. Touting; “Support our troops !”
    Not having any idea what it truly means that sacrifice is a key part of supporting troops at war. When the final bill came due for Congresses’ campaign rhetoric, Covering their own “Pork-Barrels” with desert worn stars and strips was primary concern on capital-hill. Not since the American Civil War have so many politicians
    back-peddled from the sting of the true cost of war.

    • I don’t believe this was done to demoralize veterans, but rather to make sure anyone who might possibly be eligible would have the card on hand. Some people will move and become eligible, some others may normally be able to get their appointments within 30 days but then suddenly can’t. They would need the card in those instances, even if they aren’t eligible the day the card first comes in the mail.

      Point in case, when they expanded eligibility those veterans who suddenly became eligible already had their cards. If the VA didn’t send them out to everyone, a lot of people would have fallen through the cracks.

  9. Here is the text from the director of our VA in Charleston, SC. In here he highlights how they are doing such a good job because only 100 people want to use Choice. What do you think?

    I can tell you that in the past two ER visits during the last 60 days that I have had, I did not consider going to the VA since there is a hospital 4 miles from my house and I live 20 miles from the VA hospital. I also have not done the follow up with the VA, it has been with two specialists and a surgeon from this local hospital as well. More money out of my pocket especially since the issues I have are covered under my VA service connection rating.

    Notice as well that while he mentions wait times being below national average, he failed to say what they actually are.

    This is the note from Mr. Scott Isaacks, FACHE, Medical Center Director.

    Veterans Choice Program

    More than 1,900 of the 2,000 area Veterans who are eligible for the Veterans Choice program due to distance to a VA facility have, I believe, clearly told us we are their health care provider of choice. The overwhelming majority of these Veterans have chosen to continue to receive their care at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center or one of our clinics. Veterans frequently tell us they receive better care here than anywhere else, that they know our staff really care about them, and they don’t want to go anywhere else for health care. It is both humbling and inspiring to be entrusted with your care, and I promise to do everything possible to continue to earn your trust and the privilege of caring for you every day. We have also hired a Veterans Choice Navigator in Charleston and will soon add a Navigator in our Hinesville clinic to assist Veterans with questions about the Choice Program or who do choose to be seen in the community. Please contact Mariecia Smith at (843) 789-7948 for any Choice Program assistance you may need.

    As many of you have read in the media, our average wait times for appointments are below the national average. Last year we were the 6th fastest growing VA in the country with a growth rate of 7.44%. So far this year, our growth rate is at 9% and we are both challenged and excited by this growth. That is why we are continuing to add new staff, open new clinics, monitor access in every area, and continually review our processes and data to ensure the utmost integrity and transparency in care delivery for our Veterans. Our goal is simple … that you and all the other Veterans coming to our VA continue to receive the best care anywhere, and that we exceed your expectations in quality and service. Thank you for choosing the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center as your health care provider of choice. We look forward to serving your for many years to come.

    • I call BS on his letter for 2 reasons. First, we all know how difficult it is to use the Choice card…hell I haven’t even gotten one yet, how hard it is to find a doctor who will accept it, and how hard it is for the VA to actually approve it’s use. Second, and the biggest reason why I call BS is that if there are so few using it, why are they hiring two more full time employees to “navigate” and coordinate?

      I could add a third…there are 2000 veterans in his area and only 100 are outside a 40 mile limit? Nice round numbers make me suspicious. I also don’t believe there are all these veterans telling him they are doing such an awesome job. Let’s see the stats of how many complaints are filed with their Patient Advocates.

      • Agreed, this is pure BS and also shows that the VA believes it is so great that everyone should be using it. Maybe we should have some of the civilian population either use this or go with those of us who have to use the VAMC’s.
        I have not received one of these great cards(sarcastic) either. My dad has one and was told he did not qualify. I thought that part of the requirement was if you could not get an appointment within 30 days you could go outside of the VA. This would mean that every vet should get one of these cards in case they could not get the appointment. If you lived next door a VAMC or a clinic you could still use the card for that reason. I am sure many of us vets that are within the mileage limit have not received one of these. The VA is hoping that the mileage rule will make us think that we don’t qualify for any of it.

      • I agree f8f, I believe they are deliberately trying to sabotage it. Why else would they come up with the 40 mile crow flies crap. I had known about the 30 day limit for getting an appointment, but very rarely see any VA comment on that being adhered to, which also tells me the VA wants to downplay that. If I had a serious health concern, even if I didn’t have the card, and the VA couldn’t schedule within 30 days, you can bet I would be going outside and the VA would pay for it. Years ago, I badly needed knee surgery which the VA denied until I brought in MRIs from a private doc. They finally agreed I needed surgery, but said they needed to do their own MRI to confirm it. After that was done and they confirmed I needed the surgery, they said it would be about 4 month’s before they could do it. I said I was scheduling it with the private doc the next Tuesday, and the VA was paying for it. I said I couldn’t wait 4 month’s and still jeep my job. The Chief of Staff approved it and the VA paid the doc using CHAMPVA.

  10. The No Choice Card is a cruel joke. I live over 90 miles from a VAMC and CBOC.
    After more than 20 phone calls the VA has yet to approve me for anything outside the VA.

    The VA is sabotaging the program. They don’t want the program to work.
    The VA must be removed from managing and administering the Choice Card program or it will never work as intended.

    The VA wants to keep the billions of dollars that was granted to implement the No Choice Card program to give themselves a bonus and have parties.

  11. There was certainly enough federal money to bail-out the criminal undertakings of Neil Bush, his father, Bush, Sr., and brothers at Silverado Savings and Loan. There was enough tax-payer money to bail-out Goldman Sachs in 1995 during the Mexican Peso Crisis. Bank of America, Citibank, et al, had their bad East Asia investments made good by the IMF (20% U.S. tax-payer funded) in 1998. The Federal Reserve printed tens-of-billions of dollars to bail-out investors at Bear Sterns and AIG. But this Congress person, Sessions, is concerned Veterans’ Choice is a blank check.

  12. There have been discussions to include the anticipated costs of future veteran health care in DoD in the year they are sent into action. This balances the books from an accounting standpoint, and it does not pass the veteran buck from the current generation of Congressional folks to the next.

    I like the idea – and it will save us from going into a lot more conflicts needlessly.

    • Don’t be naive. DoD has been incapable of balancing its accounts for nearly 20 years. It can not pass an audit.

      • I agree. I retired from the USAF in 1990, and they couldn’t balance their accounts at the base level.

  13. The key issue for me is found in the question asked rhetorically in the first several paragraphs of this article. Isn’t it fair and just to take care of veterans harmed by these wars?
    Yes, of course it is, and has been the primary mission since the VA by other names came into existence. To care for those who are disabled by war. It should not be the mission to serve all veterans equally, in effect dis-serving those who are impaired by military service.

    This is not post-WWII and Korea when all veterans could be treated by the VA. There weren’t so many aging WWI veterans, that were absorbed into the existing VA medical care system. But, once the WWII and Korean war veterans began aging and needing care for chronic diseases of old age, it was at the time when Vietnam veterans entered their 50’s AND we had a new generation of war veterans needing care from the 1991 Gulf War.

    Emphasis for VA treatment was now governed more strictly by a veteran’s category for treatment purposes. Those veterans rated totally disabled due to service connected conditions are entitled to anything we need without any money out of our pocket. Those 50% to 90% got anything needed but dental care and on a lower priority than the totally disabled veterans. Now WWII veterans all all but gone, but Korean war and Vietnam veterans are at least 65 and need chronic care for our old age problemsalong with service connected conditions from our war service. Those rated less than 50% service connected combined got priority treament for service connected conditions only and not eligible for prosthetics for non-service connected conditions. If you were not service connected but receiving disability pension because you served during wartime, were totally disabled due to non-service connected conditions and had a very marginal or zero income were next in line. Then those without service connected conditions and not receiving pension. And then those who were employed with or without private health insurance.

    It was and, I think, still is a well defined system to control who gets treatment at the VA or at VA expense. I do not believe the CHOICE program should be available to those who are not service connected. If you come out of the military unscathed, then the VA should not owe you free treatment unless you are impoverished. We have too many existing service connected and wartime disabled veterans who deserve the overwhelming lion’s share of medical care resources.

    • We veterans have always had to fight for the benefits we deserve. My father, decorated with a Purple Heart and an Oak Leaf Cluster, (multiple wounds) after having his left shoulder blown off in Italy in WW II was determined, upon discharge, to be 10% disabled. He and the DAV spent a decade fighting for his 90%. Let us not forget my fellow Vietnam era vets spending years fighting the VA and the cheap politicians who denied the effects of Agent Orange. The refusal to recognize PTSD and on and on. The bureaucrats and “conservatives” in Congress use the “well defined system to control who gets treatment” as a ruse to deny full or partial treatment to those who served. There should be no need for service members to fight battles after completing their service. The “defined system” is currently resulting in an epidemic of suicides among veterans. It is more than entitlement programs. It was earned.

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