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1 Veterans Groups Blast Obama on Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:18 pm


Veterans Groups Blast Obama Plan for Private Insurance to Pay for Service-Related Health Care
President Obama's plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in service has angered veterans groups who say the government has a moral obligation to pay for service-related medical care.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday: President Obama greets veteran Mahdee Abdul Sabir, who led the pledge of allegiance during Obama's visit to the Department of Veterans Affairs.President Obama's plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in service has infuriated veterans groups who say the government is morally obligated to pay for service-related medical care.

Calling it a "desperate search for money at any cost," Craig Roberts, media relations manager for the American Legion, told on Tuesday that the president will "wish away so much political capital on this issue" if he continues to insist on private coverage for service-related injuries.

Cmdr. David K. Rehbein of the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, called the president's plan to raise $540 million from private insurers unreasonable, unworkable and immoral.

"This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate 'to care for him who shall have borne the battle,' given that the United States government sent members of the Armed Forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies," Rehbein said late Monday after a meeting with the president and administration officials at the Veterans Affairs Department.

"I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service-connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans," Rehbein said.

Roberts said that 11 veterans service organizations were told to come up with another plan if they didn't like this one. The groups met on Monday with Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Office of Management and Budget defense spending chief Steven Kosiak.

"What we've been tasked with now is to raise this money through alternative means and we're supposed to have a conference call in two or three days ... with Rahm Emanuel. So the implication was ... you guys come up with a better idea or this is what's going to happen," Roberts said.

A summary of the proposed budget says the president wants to increase funding for VA by $25 billion over five years, and bring more than 500,000 eligible veterans of modest income into the VA health care system by 2013.

However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that no plans have been enumerated yet about veterans health care.

"Let me not make the case for a decision that this administration hasn't made yet regarding the final disposition or decision on third-party billing as it relates to service-related injuries," he said.

"The veteran service organizations ... can have confidence that the budget the president has proposed represents an historic increase in discretionary spending to take care of our wounded warriors, those that have been sent off to war, have protected our freedom, and have come back wounded," Gibbs continued.

But Roberts said the president's plan would increase premiums, make insurance unaffordable for veterans and impose a massive hardship on military families. It could also prevent small businesses from hiring veterans who have large health care needs, he said.

"The president's avowed purpose in doing this is to, quote, 'make the insurance companies pay their fair share,'" Roberts said. "It's not the Blue Cross that puts soldiers in harm's way, it's the federal government."

Roberts said that the American Legion would like the existing system to remain in place. Service-related injuries currently are treated and paid for by the government. The American Legion has proposed that Medicare reimburse the VA for the treatment of veterans.

He added that the argument about the government's moral obligation to treat wounded soldiers, sailors and Marines fell on deaf ears during the meeting.

"The president deflected any discussion when it got into any moral issue here," he said. "Any attempt to direct the conversation (to the moral discussion) was immediately deflected."

Private insurance is separate for troops who need health care unrelated to their service. But Roberts noted that if a wounded warrior comes back and needs ongoing treatment, he or she could run up "to the max of the coverage in very short order," leaving his family with nothing

Roberts added that how the plan would raise $540 million "is a great mystery and it seems to be an arbitrary number. ... The commander said it seemed like this phantom number."

Monday's meeting was preceded by a letter of protest earlier this month signed by Rehbein and the heads of 10 service organizations. It read that "there is simply no logical explanation" for the plan to bill veterans' personal insurance "for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide."

The letter called it "unconscionable" to shift the burden of the country's "fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country." Rehbein testified to both the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees on those same points last week

2 Re: Veterans Groups Blast Obama on Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:46 am

rosco 357

i have heard this talked about today on talk radio, and even before, for the life of me i simply do not understand why he is asking this of the ppl in the military,, I'm lost as to how it can save money, i can understand how it can shift it around, if I'm correct he would want military caused ailments treated with ppl private insurance???? i heard this on the radio earlier, and thought the radio guy was wrong about what was being asked for soldiers to do, but no, he was not wrong if i read it correct, and im baffled, its beyond the pale, and wrong and stupid. i heard as i did not read this post yet but only going on what i know from a talk show, the private insurance will not as i know pay for a work related injury, Workman's comp does, i see no difference, but apparently by law there is or this would not be asked for a soldier to do. this is way over the top unless i have misunderstood it, if so i'm wrong, but if not obama is wrong, and i heard some groups talked to him today, and came away mad as he would not give in on this, but how any congressman could vote this way,and risk the backlash, i simply cant see them voting yes on this, strange, stuff,from the White House. i will restudy it to see if i have not understood it, because it seem so far out.. ok i took time to read the post im replying to and still its hard to believe what im reading, if i know my rep in the house, and my 2 senators, and i know this will be a dead issue with them, a very stupid move by a president that seems AWOL with the center of ppl that got him elected, a imbecile could have come up with something better than this, this will haunt him and be used against him next election, i predict he is one term and out, take care,

3 Re: Veterans Groups Blast Obama on Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:55 am

rosco 357

so now obama has the unions against him for wanting to tax heath benefits as income,, and now the veterans organizations, who will be next in line to hate him??? i think the whole of the american center that for what reason voted for him, wait till the gun and ammo tax comes, wow, and he has been in office what 50 something days, amazing,

4 Re: Veterans Groups Blast Obama on Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:26 pm

rosco 357

well obama saw the hand writing on the wall about the military using private heath care for wounds and such, and he has dropped that, i did not ever see it passing congress anyway, but it was on the radio he has dropped it.

5 Re: Veterans Groups Blast Obama on Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:43 pm


Reminds me of when Ronald Regan referred to widows and orphans of service men who had died in combat, as welfare freeloaders and tried to reduce their benefits.

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