Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Obama Administration's kick to veterans
According to various published reports, the head of the American Legion and the leaders of other veteran organizations are upset about a plan the Obama Administration has for charging a soldier’s private insurance company for a soldier’s serviced related health care.
While there is no doubt some well meaning money cruncher came up with the idea, it is a kick to wounded veterans. Throughout the history of the United States, there has always been an understood obligation for the country to pay for the care of those who are injured or otherwise obtain health problems in connection with service to the United States. To so many Americans, paying for such is a matter of sacred honor. For that group, there is no price on honor.
Sacred honor aside, it also hurts soldiers with their personal financial lives. Suppose a member of the National Guard goes to Afghanistan and is injured in combat. As a part time soldier, that guardsman likely would have a private insurance policy with his full time employer. If the Department of Veteran Affairs demands that private insurer to pay for the guardsman’s health care costs, then that information goes to a database insurance companies look at. Chances are if that guardsman tries to get private insurance, he will find it difficult to obtain or be forced to pay higher premiums. With the myriad of state laws on insurance, it is difficult to truly measure if and how much those who sacrificed for the country will be punished for doing so.
It is puzzling why the Obama Administration would move to make such heroes exposed to any punishment for their service. While one certainly hopes that the Obama Administration is making its move based upon the best of motives, the results could be devastating for those who America owes the most to. While Obama supporters will likely contend it is making big insurance pay, the result will hurt veterans.
Indeed, VUI completely agrees with American Legion Commander David K. Rehbein, who stated, "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. 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!"
Amen, Commander Rehbein, amen.