It’s about veterans’ health benefits. Here it is…
Updated: My mother reminded me that my father is not just any WWII veteran, but a combat veteran.
When the election in November, 2008 rolled around, I was intensely please to be able to cast a vote for Mr. Obama for any of dozens of reasons. I respected his ethics, his morals, his qualities as a person, his speaking ability and his intelligence. I also respected his ability to build strong and diverse coalitions, and I wanted a way out of the maze of broken promises and tramples constitutional and civil rights that the Bush Administration had brought us to.
I’ve been pleased to follow Mr. Obama’s progress through his campaign promises, pleased to see so many promises kept, so much progress made. I have pretty uniformly felt like my vote was not only well-founded, but also that it really meant something.
So when I heard about the proposal to generate $540 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs by charging treatment for veterans’ service-related injuries to veterans’ insurance companies (and possibly from out-of-pocket expenses?) from a friend who is a veteran, and was at first skeptical about it, knowing that sometimes misinformation comes through lobbying by misinformed lobbyists and private citizens.
Then I went looking for the news and found it on CNN. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/17/obama.veterans/). Though I can see wanting insurance companies to participate in paying for this kind of care, I understood the Department of Veterans Affairs as a governmental institution primarily set up to provide for the covenant that the federal government made (whether it was implied or explicit) with its surviving soldiers of warfare, police action or regular duty to care for them in exchange for the risk of life, limb and health on behalf of the country.
My father is a combat veteran of WWII and I am a citizen in good faith. Even though I’ve never served, I can see why the veterans and their organizations would be upset by this proposal.
The VA’s “About the VA” statement on the web site (http://www.va.gov/about_va/) says:
“Our goal is to provide excellence in patient care, veterans’ benefits and customer satisfaction. We have reformed our department internally and are striving for high quality, prompt and seamless service to veterans. Our department’s employees continue to offer their dedication and commitment to help veterans get the services they have earned. Our nation’s veterans deserve no less.”
I understand this as a recognition of what veterans have done to earn these benefits, and I’m not pleased to hear that the Executive Branch is considering doing anything that might infringe on those rights and recognition. If you can work something out with veterans’ other health insurance providers in a way that absolutely does not impact veterans’ out of pocket expenses at all, I might be okay with that, but I am in no wise impressed with the idea of burdening the veterans themselves with that financial burden or risk. It’s not fair, it’s not just and it’s not honest.
Please keep promises already made, especially to these our most selfless citizens – folks who’ve willingly and intentionally put life and limb on the line for our country as a whole.
I also gave him my full contact info.
Updated: Edited to fix indenting.