Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Disabled veterans shocked by Obama plan to push them into private insurers for their needed care
Veterans and their advocacy groups are outraged over President Obama's intention to push their treatment and its costs under private insurers, breaking a long-held promise that our government would always stand behind those who had served.
For all of us who have dealt with private insurers, the hassle is incredibly frustrating. Debates over what is covered and what is not are endless.
Our veterans, particularly those wounded in battle, should certainly be held above that demeaning fray. We owe that to them at the very least.
Here is how McClatchy Newspapers reported the growing controversy:
Veterans claim that the costs of treating expensive war injuries could raise their insurance costs, as well as those for their employers. Some worried that it also could make it more difficult for disabled veterans to find work.
The leaders of several veterans groups had written Obama last month complaining about the new plan. “There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran’s personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide,” they wrote.
Many veterans had high expectations for Obama after years of battling the Bush administration over benefit cuts and medical concerns such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
But the VA’s decision to float a potential change in its policy of paying for service-related injuries could signal a quick end to the honeymoon.
“It’s a betrayal,” said Joe Violante, legislative director of Disabled American Veterans, which signed the letter to Obama.
“My insurance company didn’t send me to Vietnam, my government did. The same holds true for men and women now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s the government’s responsibility.”