“Support for Veterans”

Posted: September 1, 2013 in Guest Blog Posts, Military
Tags: , ,

Originally posted on June 20, 2011

This is a guest blog post by my dad, @piercingthedark, retired USAF. Thank you for your contribution to my blog site and more importantly to our country!

“Support for Veterans”

After retiring from the military I was told by the doctor at the VA Hospital that certain medications I was taking while on active duty were not available for retirees. One of the doctors at our church said, “The VA hospitals are just now getting penicillin!” He was joking, but it struck home that VA hospitals are funded by tax dollars and face constant budget cuts. One oddity for me was that my local VA hospital could not put on a cast for my broken leg. I had to travel 110 miles to another VA facility and stay overnight. Why?

image Ted Koppel, not your every-day conservative, commented that our government has never taken very good care of our veterans. More to the point is Rudyard Kipling’s telling poem, “For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before! The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.” Some would like to get rid of both God and the military and live in a global world of peace and harmony. That might work on some other planet, but we live on earth. Maybe those who feel godless globalism is best should migrate to another planet, but I digress.

So, who should be responsible to care for our veterans, especially our disabled vets? There is no easy answer.

Some would say the military is responsible. Perhaps so; however, the military is funded to fight. Fit fighting men and modern weaponry are expensive and care for the disabled is a small part of the budget. For example, mentally distressed soldiers will be seen at a mental health office. However, they are not evaluated for treatment, but to see if they are fit for duty. If not, they are medically discharged and go into the VA health system.

The VA gets a lot of heat and rightly so. However, politicians (who want to get reelected) know that supporting the big three, Medicare, Education and Social Security is far safer than campaigning for more funding for Vets. Only scandals bring visibility and not for long.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2009/08/a_va_scandal_scorecard.html

My belief is that sufficient tax dollars will never be made available to VA Health Care centers. A solution might be to have soldiers pay a portion, say $10-25 (more when you make rank) per pay period towards health care while they are in the military. This would not be in the general fund, but fenced and allow several health care insurers to underwrite the policies. Upon exiting the military, soldiers would get between 1 and five years of “good” health benefits. If they are wounded or injured in battle, they would get at least 10 or more years of health benefits. Soldiers currently pay for life insurance and retirement savings (TSP) so why not add a health care program? This would “privatize” the policies and keep politicians from using the funds elsewhere. Would there be fraud, waste and abuse? Probably, but government has not shown that any federally funded program is protected from this. In fact power breeds corruption and DC is the center of political power.”
**********

P.S.
I will add to @piercingthedark’s blog that my heart goes out to our soldiers and veterans. There may be programs for them, but obviously they are not quite effective, and it requires our soldiers to seek out help. If you think about it, this is not what our military is trained to do. They provide help, not ask for it. We need to be offering them help, seeking them out. We need to be a voice for them, getting them help. It’s the least we can do for those who gave their all so we could see a new day.

Soldier on!

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