Privatization without additional funding will take away from VA hospital system

Friday, July 25, 2008 | 7:24 p.m. CDT

Contrary to common public perception, not all veterans are eligible for Veterans Affairs hospital care. Veterans are admitted based on the following priorities:

1. Service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or better.

2. Service-connected disabilities rated 30 percent to 40 percent.

3. Service-connected disabilities rated 10 percent and 20 percent and former prisoners of war.

4. Through 7. Purple heart recipients and generally based on income/estate.

8. All other non service-connected veterans and zero percent, non-compensable service-connected veterans who agree to pay co-pays. Effective Jan. 17, 2003, VA no longer enrolled veterans in group 8.

Elimination of group 8 veterans has denied VA health care to over a million veterans! Any form of privatization without additional funding will take money away from the under-funded VA hospital system and result in further reduction of services.

The July/August 2008 issue of the Disabled American Veterans magazine contains the following: "Top medical journals and respected publications such as business week, U.S. News and World Report, Fortune, Time and the New York Times as well as NBC, ABC and CBS newscasts all have applauded the VA's state-of-the-art medical care. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index has reported the VA scoring higher than private-sector health care eight years in a row."

Missouri is well served with accessible VA hospitals and clinics. The DAV maintains an extensive fleet of vans to transport veterans to and from their medical appointments.

The DAV, representing permanently disabled veterans, is adamantly opposed to any voucher plan or privatizing any part of the outstanding VA integrated health care system.



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