Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Obama Plans to Bill Wounded Vets for Health Care

Originally Published 17 March 2009

Among the many things that Obama cleverly tried to disguise during his campaign was that he didn’t “get it” when it came to our military and veterans. However, he’s revealing his incompetence with his plan for veteran’s health care.

A recent press release from the American Legion described the National Commander of the Legion as being “deeply disappointed, concerned, and clearly angered” after meeting with Barack Obama.

The Obama Administration is moving forward with a plan to have the VA charge veterans for their service related VA provided care, if they happen to also have private health insurance. Veterans would have to submit these VA charges to their own insurance company (or have the VA bill their insurance company) for reimbursement of the costs back to the VA. This includes expenses related to treatment of service-related injuries, illnesses, and disabilities.

Under Obama’s plan, a vet with a disability comes home from war, and lands a good job which provides health insurance benefits. He then seeks treatment for his service-related disability at the VA. The VA treats the vet, but then charges the vet for the treatment because he has private insurance. The vet is forced to submit the charges to his private insurance so they can reimburse the VA. The vet bears the costs of co-pays and deductibles, incurs the hit against his lifetime maximum benefit, and the government shifts financial responsibility for veterans care from the VA to the insurance company.

According to the Legion Commander, Obama’s intention is to use this process as a revenue generating enterprise for the government, with a goal of raising $540 million by shifting the costs of veterans’ health care from the VA to private insurers.

And in true Obama fashion, he ignored the arguments against such a proposal. According to Commander Rehbein, Obama is “acting inconsistently with the mandate” to care for those who fought as ordered by their country. Additionally, Obama “refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."

The plan is “inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm's way.”

Charging for treatment of a service-related injury or illness through a private insurance company could “max out” the veteran’s insurance benefits. That would leave him or her uninsured for any other needs. It could also leave the vet’s family uninsured when the coverage reaches its maximum.

Additionally, veterans would now have to bear the costs of insurance deductibles, elevated costs for insurance premiums charged to those with a known illness or disability, and face reluctance to be hired by a company that may have trouble acquiring and funding health care for a veteran’s situation; all unprecedented moves against veterans by any administration.

(For the record, this wouldn’t affect me personally, but would certainly be detrimental to other vets.)

Of the very few things our government should have its hands in, caring for veterans who need it after fighting for our country is one of them. Obama’s plan is thus, outright unacceptable.

Ironically, this story is emerging at the same time as Obama’s plan to move toward socialized medicine with a down payment that alone costs $640 billion. While planning to absolve the government of its financial responsibility for veterans care, Obama is planning to burden taxpayers for provision of free health care to others who are uninsured.

Our veterans deserve better, and our elected representatives deserve a phone call on this one.

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