Friday, October 23, 2009

Free For All

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong

Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

--Doctor My Eyes
, Jackson Brown

Ranger is not very interested in the topics of medical insurance reform or the universal health issue, but he is interested in the health care promise to veterans.

President Obama is investing a lot of energy and political capital into these issues, at the expense of our two theatres of military action. Why doesn't he inform the taxpayers about why their money is flowing to endless wars, rather than engaging in obscurantism and telling them his health care plans won't cost them a red cent?

We would like some justifications for the continuance of the wars, rather than distraction with other less pressing issues. Even David Letterman quipped that we discuss health care financing, but never question war financing. The latter is accepted as a given, a necessity.

The federal government currently provides neither medical coverage nor health insurance for all veterans. Vets are prioritized due to funding restrictions, and have financial means testing as a discriminator to determine priorities of treatment.
If the government cannot find the money to medically treat all honorably discharged veterans, then where is the money coming from to cover medical care for all Americans?

We are extremely sympathetic to the universal health care concept, but everybody is not going to get everything for free, nor can it be paid for if there is not a funding source. The truth is, to have a viable universal health coverage, we will pay higher taxes, a word anathema to the average U.S. citizen.

On the other hand, veterans earned their health care through their service. After they are discharged, they learn the country they served, to include combat duty, is slipping them a shabby deal. Before the U.S. starts new health insurance programs funded with tax dollars, there should be comprehensive medical care for veterans, care that they were promised and services they have earned.

We do not want free health care, we want what we paid for with our service. Obama is simply following a path firmly established in both legislatures, whether Democratically or Republican-controlled. Both parties continue to neglect the big veterans issues by throwing us little bones with promises of better funding to come.

Some people believe the rhetoric, but it's time to open our eyes.

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Anonymous barcalounger said...

I'll bet flag officers get full medical coverage. Meanwhile those who served as company grade officers, NCOs, and EMs get the dregs. What else is new?

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 7:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked as a physician in several VA hospitals attached to large university teaching programs, I always wondered why veterans weren't simply given a gold-plated government-funded insurance policy. Duplicating hospitals, clinics etc. never made financial sense, unless you saw the VA as a jobs program first, and health-care program second.

Not to mention the usual bureaucratic incentives to graft, peculation, kick-backs, etc etc.

Another easily-fixable bit of craziness: vets having to drive for long distances to go to VA outpatient clinics, rather than doing the obvious thing, and contracting with local health care facilities to provide the same service. Case in point: where I live, if a vet needs a relatively simple imaging test (anything more than plain xray), he has to drive 60 miles to the nearest VA clinic. Any local radiologist's office would be happy to provide the service, at or even below Medicare rates, which are pretty cheap. Why should an elderly or ill veteran have to drive or be driven so far for what can easily be obtained in his/her hometown? Stupid. But again, the jobs/bureaucratic aspects probably outweigh the common-sense health care issue.

By the way, the vets I took care of were the best patients in the world, and I always enjoyed dealing with them.

While I'm at it, I must say -- VA commissary food is UNDOUBTEDLY the worst food in the world. A separate insurance program could also ensure that sick vets receive adequate nutrition. Hey--good chow lifts spirits, too.

Anyway, great blog, thanks for your many efforts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 4:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thanks for a view from the inside. Your proposal of a health card makes perfect sense; driving 60- or 100 miles to a VA clinic does not.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 2:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger bigbird said...

I have no problem with taking care of people that have been banged up in war, or training for that matter; This can be a dangerous occupation.

OTOH, take myself as an example. Served my obligated two years, never heard a shot fired in anger, although there were some tense moments, never was injured. Perhaps the pay scales were terrible before the AVF, but overall, just a short inconvenience. Used GI bill to get a masters, never got a VA mortgage.

In the forty years since then, I have prospered. Why in the world should I be still on the public tit? I'm way past the VA's income and asset tests.

May be I'm jaded from having worked for too many years in a decrepit city, where, after a while, you know the derelicts by name (and hope that they don't know yours). The 'veteran down on his luck' schtick wears thin after a while. Let's see, sixty odd years since WWII, forty since Viet Nam. Plenty of time for someone to transition to the civilian world. We've all seen people whose sole accomplishment in life was to muddle through two years in the military after being drafted.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 7:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

OK I hear your argument but then why do $ year Presidents and Congress people get excessive health benefits AFTER they RETIRE. Are they losers?
Just because soldiers are not part of the ruling elite they should get the same breaks as our leaders. That's what equality and democracy is all about. Is that noit why we served- we were all equal until we were drafted and some answered the call and others got deferred to later become leaders. If it's good for the leaders it's good for the troops.
I really don't care if we give lifetime care to vets or not BUT LET'S BE TRUTHFUL, we did promise them lifetime care regardless of their means testing quotient.
I can say that if we are willing to have universal health care for everyone then how do you logically justify this IF you deny lifetime care to vets. Whether we served in combat or not is a moot point-we earned our coverage which can't be said for 13 y/o unwed mothers on Medicaid/ADC/Foodstamps.
I think that i need to reindoctrinate your Engineer brain.
As always, i'm glad to hear from you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 10:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If Congressmen get free health care on the government tit then I feel we vets should get to suck it as hard as do the leaders.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 10:38:00 AM GMT-5  

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