Tag Archives: medical care

Divide Opens Between Current And Older Veterans

There is an increasing sense among veterans of prior wars that money, attention, and service for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are taking a higher priority over service to those in who fought in World War II, Korean or the Vietnam wars. A recent comment by Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has sparked a controversy. He noted, that “unlike during the Vietnam War, today’s military is a professional all-volunteer force.” The assumption by his remarks appears to suggest current members of the military are more qualified as a fighting force. After being blasted by veteran groups, Mr. Reickhoff issued an apology.

The truth is historically, America depended on a Citizen’s Army and they performed heroically in prior wars. A visit to a Veteran’s Hospital still reveals evidence of discrimination against those who served. In the past, veterans had access to medical care, but today there are income requirements. I don’t recall any income requirements when we entered the military. It is time to rethink the treatment of veterans including addressing the needs of those who served in the Merchant Marine and the brave members of the Philippine Scouts.

Care Of Wounded Improves-But More Needed

The General Accountability Office(GAO) praised efforts by the United States Army over the past year to assist soldiers going through the disability retirement process. However, it noted some treatment facilities lack as much as 40 percent of the staff required to maintain a ratio of one legal counselor per 30 soldiers. According to John Pendleton of the GAO, “The Army has made progress in the five months since our September hearing,” he said, referring to a previous GAO report which showed the Army’s Transition Units were only half-staffed. But one-third of the units still have staffing shortages. At some bases, 40 percent of wounded or sick soldiers have not been assigned to a Transition Unit.

Daniel Bertoni, GAO’s director of education, workforce and income security, said the GAO’s new report found that one military evaluation board physician per 200 soldiers is not enoough and the ratio must come down to one per hundred.

The real issue arising from the GAO report is why did the Bush administration enter a war without giving sufficient thought and consideration to the needs of wounded soldiers? Why has it taken six years for changes to be made in regard to treatment of wounded soldiers who are being discharged into civilian life? The story of the Iraq war is the continual neglect on the part of the Bush administration of the costs of war. That is the national scandal which the American people should never forget.

Common Health Market Created In European Union

The European Union will begin the process within a year of offering its citizens the right to secure health treatment in any member nation of the EU. The United Kingdom announced that a UK citizen will be able to secure medical treatment by providers in all of the European Union member states. The offer is based on the concept that if there is undue delay in obtaining medical treatment for a particular issue, the UK citizen could obtain that treatment in any of the EU nations with the British National Health Service picking up the bill. In turn, any citizen from a European Union nation could obtain similar care in the UK provided they had a referral from a doctor. During the past five years, the Blair government has poured about $90 billion into the NHS to raise its standard of care.

This is a fabulous concept which will broaden the scope of medical care in Europe. It might also lead to certain nations specializing in care for particular diseases. The American tragedy is even within our own country there is no such flexibility in helping people to go anywhere within our national boundaries to obtain needed medical help. Perhaps, the United States might consider joining the European Union if that is the only way to ensure open medical care for Americans.

Mr. Bush– One In Eight Veterans Lacks Health Insurance!

President Bush has consistently accused Democratic opponents for their failure to “support our troops” and at tempted to portray himself as the defender of those who fight or have fought for this country. A new study from researchers at the Harvard Medical School report that about 1.8 million veterans under the age of 65 lack medical coverage in the United States of America. As the report notes, “Like other uninsured Americans, most uninsured vets are working people– too poor to afford private coverage, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or means-tested VA care.” Dr. Jeffrey Scavron in a biting remark pointed out, “only the government can put men and women into military service and only the government can guarantee that they are covered after they serve.” The report only points out that beginning in 2003, the Veterans administration began denying medical care for those whose salary was too high. Peter Gaytan, who monitors veterans’ issues for the American Legion, claims veterans who now make a little over $24,000 a year no longer qualify for VA care because they have high salaries!

I am certain President Bush’s response will be that anyone in America who needs medical care can go to the nearest Emergency Room and be treated. The denial of health benefits for ANYONE WHO SERVED is an insult to men and women who risked their lives in the service of their country. Then again, Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration got out of serving their country so they could make money. I doubt if any of those people uses Emergency Rooms as the primary access to medical care.