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March 18, 2009
White House Drops Plan to Bill Disabled Veterans’ Insurance for Care
WASHINGTON, March 18—
The Disabled American Veterans today commended the Obama administration for backing down from a controversial proposal that would force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who suffered service-related disabilities and injuries.
The proposal that had been considered as part of the president’s budget would require private insurance companies to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs in such cases. But the idea was unanimously opposed by the DAV and other leaders of the veterans community who were invited to the White House Monday to discuss the plan directly with President Obama. Veterans were again united in opposing the plan in a follow-up meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Wednesday.
The decision to drop the idea was announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at a meeting with veterans groups after the meeting with Emanuel.
“The president was very open and candid when he met with veterans groups earlier this week, and we are pleased that he has heard our concerns and taken them to heart,” said Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman. “Our message to the president was simple and direct: that our government must not abandon its moral responsibility to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.” “Now that this ill-advised proposal is off the table, the DAV looks forward to working with the administration and Congress on crafting a good budget that will include sufficient appropriated dollars to cover veterans’ health care needs,” Gorman said. “We also urge the president to fulfill his pledge to include advance appropriations for veterans health care in his budget submission.”
A top priority for the DAV and other groups is passage of the recently introduced Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act. The measure would authorize Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year. The legislation also would add needed transparency to the process by having the Government Accountability Office review and report on the VA budget request.
“This budget reform legislation would ensure sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans’ health care. It has the added benefit of making government more efficient, transparent and accountable. These are three key elements that President Obama, Congress and veterans all agree are needed in these challenging times. And if enacted in conjunction with the fiscal year 2010 budget, advance appropriations for 2011 would not add one dime to the 2010 deficit,” Gorman said.
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site, www.dav.org