Even though my father is deceased, I still remember the trials and tribulation he underwent during the years following Viet Nam. Suffering a 100 percent disability, he logged many hours with doctors and even more in attempting to deal with the complexities of the way we handle the health care of our country's veterans. Despite attempts to make sure that I heard none of it, I often overheard discussion between my parents about the troubles they constantly had with delays and shortfalls in the system.
Enter a few courageous U.S. Senators and Representatives and The Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform.
This partnership, which represents almost 8 million members, came out last Thursday in support of legislation presented in Washington by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), and a variety of bipartisan co-sponsors to introduce major and historic reforms in veterans health care. Focusing on budget reform, the goal is to provide "sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans' health care programs."
The partnership itself is a group comprised of AMVETS, Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Jewish War Veterans (JWV), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
If this works, it should drastically reduce the number of conversation like the ones my parents did not want me to hear. No matter what opinion one may have of the various wars and conflicts in which these men participated, the fact remains that they fought to protect us here at home. We owe them the best we can offer.The new legislation, called the "Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act", would authorize advance appropriations for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care programs one year in advance of the start of the fiscal year, an idea favored by more than 80 percent of American voters, according to a survey released today by the Disabled American Veterans.The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit VA's budget forecasting model and report to Congress and the public on the integrity and accuracy of the model. With these estimates in hand, Congress would be greatly enhanced in their ability to develop and enact sufficient funding levels for VA health care."While funding levels have increased in recent years, particularly over the past two years, Congress has failed to approve a new VA appropriation bill on time for 19 of the past 21 years," said DAV Commander Ray Dempsey. "Our polling results show that the American people overwhelmingly support a proposal to have Congress approve VA's health care funding one year in advance to once and for all end these delays," Commander Dempsey said.
SOURCE: "Historic Legislation to End Delays in Veterans Health Care Funding" 09/18/08
photo courtesy of NARA via pingnewsused under its Creative Commons license