Bush and the Veterans


Bush VA Spending Fails To Grow With Health Care Costs

Despite Bush's claims, "the annual percentage increase it requested for veterans' health care is 5.4 percent -- hardly a windfall considering that the consumer price index for medical care was 13 percent during fiscal year 2002. VA officials have testified that it would take a 13 to 14 percent hike in the VA's health care budget just to maintain the status quo." [Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL) Op-Ed, The Hill, 9/17/03]

Veterans Forced To Wait Months For Initial Visits to VA Doctors

At least 230,000 veterans are being forced to wait over six months for their initial visit to a doctor at the VA medical facilities. In some parts of the country veterans are waiting nearly two years for those visits. Bush's VA Secretary Anthony Principi has acknowledged the danger in these delays, stating "I'm concerned [the delays are] causing quality to be degraded."

The "Independent Budget," an analysis of the VA budget provided by veterans groups, has said "The Department of Veterans Affairs health care system is in critical condition." Meanwhile, the Bush administration opposed a Senate addition to the Iraq supplemental bill that would have added $1.3 billion to veterans' health care. [Air Force Magazine, 10/02; OMB Director Joshua Bolton to Rep. David Obey (D-WI), 10/21/03]

Bush Administration Is Closing Seven Veterans Hospitals

In early August 2003, the Bush administration announced it was closing hospitals in its efforts to "restructure" the Department of Veterans Affairs. The administration is closing hospitals in:

Canandaigua, N.Y.
Lexington, Ky.
Brecksville, Ohio
Gulfport, Miss.
Livermore, Calif.
Waco, Tex.

Joy Ilem, assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, "questioned the need for closures and other cutbacks. 'Everyone is aware of the difficulty VA has meeting demand,' Ilem said. 'When we have hundreds of thousands of veterans on waiting lists (for medical appointments), we don't want to see facilities closed due to fiscal problems.'" There are currently 163 VA hospitals in the US. [Associated Press, 8/4/03, 10/28/03; Department of Veterans Affairs]

In mid-August, as Bush vacationed in Texas, a thousand veterans and supporters rallied in Waco, Texas to protest the closing of that VA hospital. The protestors met at the Waco School District football stadium parking lot "for a rally before driving the 22 miles to Crawford," where Bush was vacationing. "Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander Ron Hornsby told the stadium crowd that the VA commissioner looking at closing hospitals could harm veterans all across the country, not just in Waco. 'We can never repay the veterans -- we hear those words a lot,' Hornsby said. 'At times like this, those words become very hollow, very meaningless.'" More than 1,500 vets joined a similar October rally to protest a VA closing in New York. [San Antonio Express-News, 8/17/03; Associated Press, 10/20/03, 10/28/03]

Bush Proposed Doubling Costs Of Prescription Drugs For Veterans

This year Bush proposed increasing prescription drugs costs for veterans. The Bush plan would have included a new $250 enrollment fee and a co pay increase from $7 to $15 for veterans earning over $24,000. On July 21, the House Appropriations Committee agreed to a Democratic amendment to reject the Bush fee increases and recoup the $264 million in costs by reducing administrative funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. [Reuters, 7/14/03; Washington Post, 7/22/03]

Interesting, because right now I can only afford healthcare for my son, not for me, so I've been using VA as my primary medical. Scary.
Does it now? Ever think that there are no responses because your post reads like a political ad?;)
Ironside said:
RnderSafe, and these people are the ones...?
Your silence here speaks in volumes! ;)

Or, did you ever use logic and figure out that I do not sit here, with abated breath, waiting for your next post?