Showing posts with label House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Congress major malfunction on suicide prevention

Congress needs to ask DOD and VA what their major malfunction is

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 21, 2019

Right now there is a hearing going on with congress on "Military and Veteran Suicide" but they are still wondering why they have not reduced them in either side of service...

Scheduled from May 21 2019 2:00 PM EDT to May 21 2019 5:00 PM EDT Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mike Colston., director for mental health programs in DOD’s Health Services Policy and Oversight Office, testify at a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on military personnel and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s health subcommittee titled, “Military and Veteran Suicide: Understanding the Problem and Preparing for the Future,” May 21, 2019.
go here
Resiliency is the major part of the problem, but the DOD has not figured it out yet. 

DOD suicide event report should have been released last month for 2018, but it looks like they are doing it just yearly now. Why?

These reports are the most current numbers showing the growing need to change what is being done, or expand on what is working. So far, what works has not replaced what failed.

Consider that these men and women, valued life so much, they were willing to die for the sake of others. 

They endured hardships and more misery than most humans will ever know for a cause that was greater than their own comforts.

They were willing to leave their families and friends for whatever time they were needed to be gone, again, for the sake of others.

So how is it that anyone could find it acceptable to allow any of these men and women to devalue their own lives and seek an end to the same life who gave so much, survived so much, only to fall by their own hands?

Considering the DOD has been feeding the stigma of PTSD with their "resilience" and making it sound as if there is a weakness in them instead of what they needed to know. They are survivors and while still human. When civilians get PTSD, it can happen after just one time. For them, it is the one time too many that causes PTSD in those who serve the rest of us.

Dr. Franklin got it wrong on the number when she said "20" a day over the last few years. According to the VA it has been that number since 1999 when there were over 5 million more veterans alive at the time. Yes, she got that wrong and here are the charts from the VA. Notice the percentage of suicides going up.
"The VA has tripled mental health care spending since 2005 to a record $8.6 billion in fiscal year 2019" and this is the result.
This is from the report where so many groups just decided that all they had to do was repeat a number to "raise awareness" it was happening but never thought it would be necessary to do anything research what to do to get a basic understanding.
Dr. Van Winkle ran down a long list of what they are doing...but seems to have missed the point that none of it is new, while the number of active duty suicides has gone up. Check the suicide reports that have been released by the DOD

Capt. Colston said that over 40% had not been deployed but did not mention how that proves that if the "prevention" efforts were not good enough to save those lives, it was very unlikely it would save any of those who had been deployed.  Top that off with those who had been deployed multiple times and you can see how that should have been known as a major malfunction in their thinking.

Capt. Colston did not know why suicides went up...but at least he is an honest man.

Dr. Neal Dunn asked about reporting on veterans committing suicide, as if reporting on them is any worse than running around the country raising money to raise "awareness" they are happening. Seems it would be a good place to start shutting those groups down and ending the stunts that rob donors of money...and veterans of hope.

It was announced there was a suicide at a VA campus over the weekend and he had been confused because he had a "other than honorable discharge." (Looking for that information now.)

Judging by how few members of the House Armed Services Committee and Veterans Affairs Committee, maybe that explains how nothing has changed to help these veterans hear the one thing they needed to hear all along...they could heal!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Congress held another hearing on suicides without listening to different voices!

Why are they still asking why?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 9, 2019

I have been listening to these hearings for too many decades and find it disgraceful members of Congress are still asking "why" veterans are committing suicide.

When will they ever get to the point where they actually open their eyes and understand that the "two decades" they believe they have been doing something, with no progress at all. Actually, in the Veterans' Community, it is worse!

The answer is they keep asking the same questions, to the same experts and getting the same answer.

They will never actually hear us until they actually acknowledge we exist!

We hear their voices, hold their hands, and put our arms around their families when it is too late to reach them. They cannot find the help they need because Congress, the press and mega size veterans groups do not intend to seek our council.

After all, there is no money in hearing what works. They do not want to know the facts when they just swallow what the VA tells them about how many are killing themselves without having to explain how many they are not reporting on within the data that is available to anyone wishing to take the time to seek it.

They will not change a damn thing until they actually change the conversation with the people they have ignored for over 4 decades. Yes, the best experts were out there over 40 years ago when Vietnam veterans were pushing for the research.

Listen to their own words and know, they have been saying the same thing for far too many years! 

Veteran Suicide Prevention

Rep. Mark Takano said that his uncle, a Vietnam veteran, had committed suicide.
"The House Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing to examine ways to combat suicide among military veterans. Witnesses included officials from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Affairs Department and the Suicide Prevention Branch of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Vietnam Veterans of America, among others, targeted by online trolls

House VA Committee Looks into Trolls Targeting Veterans Groups

MARCH 18, 2019
Someone’s spreading misinformation to veterans and their families and Congress wants to know who.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., launched an investigation this month into who’s impersonating veterans service organizations to target service members, veterans, their families and the American public.

“Our veterans served in uniform to guard against threats to our democracy just like those posed by these internet bots and trolls intent on sowing division and spreading misinformation,” Takano said in a statement. “Congress has a responsibility to stamp out these anonymous individuals and protect our country from threats foreign and domestic.”

The committee is looking into reports of campaigns that impersonate veterans and VSOs to share misleading content or fabricated “news” about military issues and ultimately cause confusion or inspire fear amongst veterans and their families. A committee staffer told Nextgov that they’re currently in the fact-finding stage of the investigation and plan to soon hold stakeholder meetings on the issue.

Today’s technological landscape has made it easy for instigators to use tools such as email and social media to influence voting behaviors or trick Americans into sharing their most sensitive personal data.

Kristofer Goldsmith, a veteran who served on the frontlines in Iraq before smartphones and social media were ubiquitous, has been tracking and combatting trolls and foreign adversaries targeting Vietnam Veterans of America, a congressionally-chartered VSO, since August 2017. He said the work is more important now than it has ever been.

“I’m really glad that Chairman Takano recognizes that too, because I feel like we’ve been screaming from the rooftops and until now no one has really heard us,” Goldsmith said.
read more here

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Representative Phil Roe thinks oversight of VA is waste of time?

Oversight of the VA is not a waste of time!

“That’s a waste of time,” Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee, the highest-ranking Republican on the committee, said in an interview last week about the group. “If they go big on that, it won’t be good.”
Mr. Roe, how the hell can you sit on this committee and say anything is a waste of time considering what the outcome has been for our disabled veterans?

This attitude is part of the reason veterans do not trust the government to do the right thing, or honor their side of the deal for the blank check they wrote on their lives.

Selling out the service of our veterans is deplorable and this investigation is part of what was pulled off against their best interest.

We have watched and waited after a long line of Administrations made speech after speech while our community heard excuses for the speeches turning out to be empty words delivered seeking our votes.

Enough! Someone has to start being held accountable for all that has gone wrong at the VA, just as what has gone right needs to be rewarded.

You say it is a waste of time? Is it a waste of time to learn exactly who benefited by these meetings? Is it a waste of time to discover why our veterans are still committing suicide and no one has a clue, or interest, in doing anything more than settling for speeches claiming they care or "awareness" campaigns that spread the misery instead of healing?

Maybe you also consider it a waste of time while for profit healthcare business make money while for years members of the Congress have been telling citizens how lousy our healthcare is, but now it is OK to kick veterans into the same system and it will be good for them?


Your waste of time is FUBAR! Maybe you should read exactly what the House Veterans Affairs Committee is actually responsible for?
Our Jurisdiction
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is as follows:

(1) Veterans’ measures generally.
(2) Cemeteries of the United States in which veterans of any war or conflict are or may be buried, whether in the United States or abroad (except cemeteries administered by the Secretary of the Interior).
(3) Compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans.
(4) Life insurance issued by the Government on account of service in the Armed Forces.
(5) Pensions of all the wars of the United States, general and special.
(6) Readjustment of servicemembers to civil life.
(7) Servicemembers’ civil relief.
(8) Veterans’ hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans.

House Democrats, Newly Empowered, Turn Their Investigations on Veterans Affairs

New York Times
Jennifer Steinhauer
February 8, 2019

According to a report last year by the nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica, the three pressured Mr. Trump’s first veterans secretary, David J. Shulkin, then peppered him with demands before ultimately working with personnel in the department to oust him. The group also pushed — in most cases, unsuccessfully — for certain vendors to manage health care records, and had a direct line to the president.

WASHINGTON — The new Democratic leadership of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said Friday that it would investigate the influence exerted by three members of President Trump’s Florida beach club on the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The move was viewed as an early, and powerful, indication that the committee, which has always been known as among the most bipartisan on Capitol Hill, could adopt a harder edge under the new Congress as empowered Democrats move to scrutinize the administration.

The investigation was announced in a letter to Robert Wilkie, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, from Representative Mark Takano, Democrat of California, the new chairman of the committee. Mr. Takano requested documents and “information about alleged improper influence” of the members, Isaac Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz and Marc Sherman, “over policy and personnel decisions of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Mr. Takano said the three men exerted inappropriate influence over procurement at the sprawling department.
read more here

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Debunking the Debunking on VA Privatization

Debunk the FUBAR
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 7, 2018

Let us venture into this claimed "debunking" by the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and debunk the FUBAR!

In 1998, VA’s budget was $42.38 billion. Considering that WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War were over, Congress didn't seem to be too concerned about two more wars adding more disabled veterans into the system. 

Gee, do you think they would have planned for them when they sent them?

We had aging veterans seeking healthcare from the VA, some for the first time even though they had service-connected disabilities, some were too poor to pay for their care while not connected to their service, and the newer veterans being offered free healthcare for the first 5 years after discharge.

Report from the DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, June 2, 1998
It operates
173 medical centers, 39 domiciliaries, 376 outpatient clinics, 131 nursing home care units, and 205 Vietnam Veteran Outreach Centers in the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Republic of the Philippines, and provides for similar care under VA auspices in non-VA hospitals and community nursing homes and for visits by veterans to non-VA physicians and dentists for outpatient treatment. It also supports veterans under care in hospitals, nursing homes, and domiciliaries operated by 35 States.
These charts from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics will show the increase in the number of veterans in the system.

This is the background on the "Choice and Accountability Act of 2014"
$10 billion fund from which VA must pay for non-VA care furnished as part of the Choice Program. VA will provide a Choice Card to all Veterans who were enrolled in the VA health care system as of August 1, 2014, and to recently discharged combat Veterans
Military Times reported in 2017, the "Choice Program" was running out of money.
The program balance dropped from $2 billion at the start of March to less than $850 million this month. 
As a result, VA officials are asking to move around money from other outside care programs to cover the Choice program, the opposite problem lawmakers anticipated when they passed the extension. Committee ranking member Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., called the news upsetting. 
"For this to happen this late in the game is frustrating to me," he said. 
The news came as Shulkin presented Trump's plans for a $186.5 billion VA budget for fiscal 2018, nearly a 6 percent increase from current funding levels. The VA secretary said that includes $13.2 billion for outside care programs next year, a figure he says should be sufficient to meet department needs. 
So, while you will read about how much more money the VA is getting, consider how much of that money is going into the "Choice" veterans did not want to have to make...because Congress did not do their jobs after all these years!

Debunking the VA Privatization Myth
April 5, 2018

There is no effort underway to privatize VA, and to suggest otherwise is completely false and a red herring designed to distract and avoid honest debate on the real issues surrounding Veterans’ health care.

Facts Debunk the Privatization Myth: A Two-Decade Comparison

In 1998, VA’s budget was $42.38 billion.

VA’s 2018 enacted budget is more than four times that figure at $188.65 billion. In 1998, VA had 240,846 employees.

As of March 29, 2018, VA had 385,233 employees, a nearly 60 percent increase in 20 years. VA has increased its end strength by nearly 15,000 since the beginning of the Trump administration, from roughly 370,000 to 385,233 as of March 29, 2018. In 2000 VA had 1,110 medical facilities.

Today, VA has 130 more medical facilities, for a total of 1,240.

VA Community Care Has Existed for More Than 70 Years, and Has Nothing to Do with Privatization

VA has been offering community care since the World War II era, starting with the then-Veterans Administration’s Hometown Program that began in 1945.

As former Secretary Shulkin said, "No health care provider delivers every treatment under the sun. Referral programs for patients to get care through outside providers (known as Choice or Community Care at the VA) are as essential to the medical profession as stethoscopes and tongue depressors."

Currently, VA operates seven distinct community care programs. VA is working with Congress to merge all of VA’s community care efforts into a single, streamlined program that’s easy for Veterans and VA employees to use so the department can work with Veterans to coordinate their care with private providers when VA can’t provide the care in a timely way or when it’s in Veterans’ best medical interest.

The fact is that demand for Veterans’ health care is outpacing VA’s ability to supply it wholly in-house. And with America facing a looming doctor shortage, VA has to be able to share health care resources with the private sector through an effective community care program. There is just no other option and, once again, VA has offered this solution since the World War II era.

The Bottom Line on the Privatization Myth

"If we’re trying to privatize, we’re not doing a very good job,"..."We’ve gone from 250,000 employees in the VA in 2009 to 370,000 employees, and we’ve gone from a $93.5 billion budget to what the president’s asked this year is $198 billion. It sounds like we’ve been an utter failure if we’re trying to privatize." 
– House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe

On the last part, he got that one right! They are utter failures on taking care of veterans~

President Obama allowed Congress to start this mess, instead of making sure that everyone knew how disgraceful this response to the needs of our veterans was!

Add this to that part.

Roseburg VA Interim Director Dave Whitmer believes it would be safer for patients suffering nighttime medical emergencies to visit their nearest non-VA hospital instead. He said the VA does have highly trained emergency doctors on staff overnight, but because there are fewer ancillary services during those hours, the nighttime emergency department functions more like an urgent care than a hospital.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

All Veterans Want is Promise Keepers, Not Bumblers

Promise Keepers or Bumblers?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 24, 2017

Looks like Santa just may have his hands full of coal for every member of Congress! When you think that this bunch just managed to pull off a Bill to fund the futures of billionaires and millionaires, these same folks didn't use that same energy for our veterans.

(Guess they also forgot that the majority of our veterans are in fact on Social Security and Medicare, also facing cuts.)

AP reported that, "NH veterans want more, better medical services" and that is true. The thing is, they wanted what was promised to them on the day they became "Veteran" instead of civilian. What part of that do people not get? They are not civilians!

The Manchester VA is the subject of this report, however, it is the same story all across the country.

"Veterans offered a long list of services they felt could be provided by the Manchester center, with many seeing the need for additional mental health and substance abuse services at a time when the state is struggling with an opioid crisis and military personal are returning home."
When anyone talks about sending veterans into the mess the rest of us deal with, they are blinded by the need for fast fix. What they fail to see is that Congress has had the responsibility of providing for our veterans since 1946.  

Jurisdiction of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  1. Veterans' measures generally.
  2. Pensions of all the wars of the U.S., general and special.
  3. Life insurance issued by the government on account of service in the Armed Forces.
  4. Compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans.
  5. Veterans' hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans.
  6. Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief.
  7. Readjustment of servicemen to civilian life.
  8. National Cemeteries.
Whatever is wrong with the care our veterans receive after all these years is because Congress failed to deliver on their end of the deal.

Veterans did their jobs. When does Congress?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The question is, when do we actually prove we are a grateful nation?

This morning I got into an email exchange with Rick Stacy over at 105.9 FM. I listen to his show everyday and he never fails to make me laugh. He's the type of guy who can insult you and you end up hugging him for it. That is, other than this morning when he was talking about POTUS extending the privatization of veterans healthcare like it was a good thing.

Ok, I'm sure you know that made my head explode! I tried to call the station but they didn't answer the call. I collected my senses, sort of, and let my blood pressure almost go back to normal, before I fired off an email.

I didn't expect and answer, but he answered it when he was off the air. It took a couple of tries but he understood what I was trying to say and I understood where he got his information from. I told him I still think he's smart and a couple of other things and have no regrets being a daily listener.

I'm sure you can see this got to me but not for the reasons you think. I know he cares about our troops and our veterans. So why would he think treating veterans like civilians was acceptable? Why would he think that sending veterans into the same mess the rest of us deal with was worthy of their service?

This is the thing that gets to me all the time. Folks seem to think this is the best this country can do for our veterans? Seriously?

So why do we have a Congress? Why did they want to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and produce these disgusting results? Yet, we the people, electing these yahoos simply let them pull off this crap all the time.

They show up at the DAV, VFW and American Legion conventions, make their speeches while begging for votes instead of begging for forgiveness? 

Revolutionary WarThe next morning on June 20, the State House was mobbed by as many as 400 soldiers demanding payment. The soldiers blocked the door and initially refused to allow the delegates to leave. Alexander Hamilton, then a delegate from New York, persuaded the soldiers to allow Congress to meet later to address their concerns. The soldiers did allow the members of Congress to peacefully adjourn that afternoon.[3] That evening, a small Congressional committee, headed by Hamilton, met in secret to draft a message to the Pennsylvania Council, asking them to protect Congress from the mutineers. The letter threatened that Congress would be forced to move elsewhere if the Council did not act.[2]

Civil WarIt wouldn’t be until the Acts of 1818 and 1832 that full remediation of pensions would take place. Fraudulent claims abused the provisions of these Acts as enough time had elapsed to make it difficult to prove (or disprove) that a claimant had qualifying service.The Civil War wasn’t much better. Confederate soldiers had to rely on state-level pensions, while Union soldiers didn’t get much better treatment from the federal government. It wasn’t until the 20th Century that many of the pensions were paid to Civil War veterans and their widows.
WWIAs many as 20,000 former soldiers and their families had converged on Washington in the summer of 1932, the height of the Great Depression, to support Texas Congressman Wright Patman’s bill to advance the bonus payment promised to World War I veterans. Congress had authorized the plan in 1924, intending to compensate the veterans for wages lost while serving in the military during the war. But payment was to be deferred until 1945. Just one year earlier, in 1931, Congress overrode a presidential veto on a bill to provide, as loans, half the amount due to the men. When the nation’s economy worsened, the half-bonus loans were not enough, and the unemployed veterans now sought the balance in cash. Known as Bonus Marchers, they came in desperation from all across the nation, hopping freight trains, driving dilapidated jalopies or hitchhiking, intent on pressuring Congress to pass the legislation. The administration vehemently opposed the measure, believing it inflationary and impractical given the $2 billion annual budget deficit.

Getting the idea, you can look up more of the stuff Congress forgot to put on their "to do list" after they sent men and women to fight the country's battles.

Congress had been given the jurisdiction over all of it back in 1946 when the first Veterans Affairs Committee was putting their butts in their chairs and have been sitting on that awesome responsibility ever since.

  1. Veterans' measures generally.
  2. Pensions of all the wars of the U.S., general and special.
  3. Life insurance issued by the government on account of service in the Armed Forces.
  4. Compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans.
  5. Veterans' hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans.
  6. Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief.
  7. Readjustment of servicemen to civilian life.
  8. National Cemeteries.
But why would they want to actually do their jobs? Why would any of us actually demand accountability from any of them? Why would we when the press fails to even mention any of the history military families have been dealing with since the Patriots were not just fighting off the best military in the world but had to hide from their fellow citizens wanting to keep things just they way they were?

Easy, because if you are not part of a military family, it is all too easy to forget these men and women are willing to pay any price for defending this nation and dying for each other but the one price they should never, ever, have to pay is our finding any of this acceptable.

The question is, when do we actually prove we are a grateful nation?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Congress Wants to Dump Veterans Healthcare?

Remind Congress Veterans Are Not Civilians
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 7, 2017

When members of Congress complain about the VA, it is like a bank robber complaining there wasn't enough money to make it worth his effort.

Veterans are not civilians. They paid the price for the best care designed to honor that service. They deserve better than to have what they were promised sold off to the highest donors of campaigns.

The day started off with an email from Matt Gaetz, which is odd considering I am not in his district. Anyway, this is what I'm talking about.

Apparently Gaetz does not allow the fact that members of Congress, just like him, have been responsible for the way our veterans have been failed since 1946. That is when the House of Representatives was given jurisdiction over the same system they complain about all these years later. Yep, guess they forget to mention that simple fact when they defend their decision to kill the VA.


Northwest Florida is privileged to have bases such as Eglin AFB and Pensacola NAS, and we owe our freedom to the brave men and women that serve there. Matt successfully sponsored legislation protecting the identities of service members and their families from groups like ISIS who have published their information to create “hit lists” of military personnel. He also co-sponsored the Florida GI Bill, offering veterans hiring preferences and in-state college tuition.

Matt has obtained over $3 Million to fund “Building Homes for Heroes,” a program that provides housing for wounded veterans and modifies their homes to meet their needs. While serving on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, Matt fought to secure funding for world-class care to help re-habilitate wounded warriors so that they can continue to fight for our country.

When it comes to caring for our veterans Matt believes that the VA doesn’t just need to be reformed – it needs to be abolished and replaced with a veteran-led system that allows our heroes to bypass bureaucracy and get their care from the providers they choose.

The other thing he apparently does not know is that 80% of our veterans, do in fact, get most of their healthcare from private providers. Only 20% use the VA exclusively. 

While about 40 percent of veterans get some health care from the VA, only about 20 percent of all veterans rely totally on the VA, according to a 2015 government survey of health and health care use.

But why would I know any of this? I've only been watching in since I was in elementary school when my Dad was fighting for his benefits. Then I got to see what happened in the 90's when I finally got my husband to go to the VA. If you've been paying attention for four decades, it is downright pathetic that no one in Congress ever took responsibility for the outcome of their failures.

Ok, now this is from the VA.

Priority GroupsPriority Group 1
  • Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 50% or more disabling.
  • Veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions.
Priority Group 2
  • Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 30% or 40% disabling.
Priority Group 3
  • Veterans who are Former Prisoners of War (POWs).
  • Veterans awarded a Purple Heart medal.
  • Veterans whose discharge was for a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 10% or 20% disabling.
  • Veterans awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C., § 1151, “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation”.
  • Veterans awarded the Medal Of Honor (MOH).
Priority Group 4
  • Veterans who are receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits from VA.
  • Veterans who have been determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.
Priority Group 5
  • Nonservice-connected Veterans and noncompensable service-connected Veterans rated 0% disabled by VA with annual income and/or net worth below the VA national income threshold and geographically-adjusted income threshold for their resident location.
  • Veterans receiving VA pension benefits.
  • Veterans eligible for Medicaid programs.
Priority Group 6
  • Compensable 0% service-connected Veterans.
  • Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Project 112/SHAD participants.
  • Veterans of the Mexican border period or of World War I
  • Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Veterans of the Persian Gulf War who served between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
  • Veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987*
  • Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998 as follows:
  • Currently enrolled Veterans and new enrollees who were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003, are eligible for the enhanced benefits for five years post discharge.
Note: At the end of this enhanced enrollment priority group placement time period, Veterans will be assigned to the highest Priority Group (PG) their eligibility status at that time qualifies for.*While eligible for PG 6; until system changes are implemented Veterans are assigned to PG 7 or 8 depending on their household income.** While eligible for PG 6; due to system limitations, Veterans will be manually assigned to Priority Group 8c, yet eligible for the enhance benefits.Priority Group 7
  • Veterans with gross household income below the geographically-adjusted VA income limit for their resident location, and who agree to pay copays.
Priority Group 8
  • Veterans with gross household incomes above the VA income limits and the geographically- adjusted income limits for their resident location, and who agree to pay copays.
Veterans eligible for enrollment: Noncompensable 0% service-connected and:
  • Subpriority a: Enrolled as of January 16, 2003, and who have remained enrolled since that date and/or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status.
  • Subpriority b: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10% or less.
Veterans eligible for enrollment: Nonservice-connected and:
  • Subpriority c: Enrolled as of January 16, 2003, and who have remained enrolled since that date and/or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status.
  • Subpriority d: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10% or less.
Veterans not eligible for enrollment: Veterans not meeting the criteria above:
  • Subpriority e: Noncompensable 0% service-connected (eligible for care of their service-connected condition only).
  • Subpriority g: Nonservice-connected.
There are rules for veterans to go to the VA but there doesn't seem to be rules for members of Congress to make sure they actually do their jobs as employees of the taxpayers of this nation. Businesses close down with yahoos like this not doing their jobs. The only difference is, business actually require employees to train for the jobs they are given. We seem to select them and give them a pass when they neglect to make sure stuff works for the country. In this case, the neglect has been catastrophic for our veterans after they risked their very lives to protect the rest of us.

Veterans are not civilians. They paid the price for the best care designed to honor that service. They deserve better than to have what they were promised sold off to the highest donors of campaigns.

As a last thought, remember, these folks are the same ones complaining about the Affordable Care Act, but they want veterans treated by the same system. WTF?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hell No! Congress Seeks To Privatize or Pulverize the VA?

Congress has been writing the rules, bills and funding (or underfunding) the VA since 1946. Here is what they were supposed to be responsible for.

Legislation Within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  1. Veterans' measures generally.
  1. Pensions of all the wars of the U.S., general and special.
  1. Life insurance issued by the government on account of service in the Armed Forces.
  1. Compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans.
  1. Veterans' hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans.
  1. Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief.
  1. Readjustment of servicemen to civilian life.
  1. National Cemeteries.
Complete Jurisdiction of the Committee

The Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established March 15, 1989, with Cabinet rank, succeeding the Veterans Administration and assuming responsibility for providing federal benefits to veterans and their dependents. Led by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second largest of the 14 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs of health care assistance services and national cemeteries.
Care for veterans and dependents spans centuries. The last dependent of a Revolutionary War veteran died in 1911, the War of 1812's last dependent died 44 years ago, the Spanish American War's, in 1962. There are widows and children of Civil War and Indian War veterans who still draw VA benefits. Some 2,190 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans are receiving VA compensation or pension benefits.  The last American Doughboy, Corporal Frank Buckles, passed away on February 27, 2011. His passing signified the passing of the last of the World War I veterans.

So if the VA has been getting stuff wrong, ask Congress why they didn't fix it to make sure it worked for our veterans? 

VA Backlog, their fault
VA Appointment Delays, their fault
VA Drug Problems, their fault

VA is not the enemy but it may be the way Congress planned on it becoming so they could pulverize it and then be done with having to answer to us.

Oh, by the way, we still don't know why veteran suicides have gone up after they started to write bills to prevent them. Anyone ask them how that is working out too?