POTUS wants to take away something that veterans were promised going back to WWII. Congress wants to pretend they had nothing to do with the mess at the VA, also going back to WWII. With all the crap in the news, it is a good time for a little history lesson. This way, no one can pretend they actually intended to keep their promises to our veterans.
First, if you think Concerned Veterans of America is actually putting veterans first, they aren't.
WASHINGTON — Like other advocacy groups, Concerned Veterans for America have problems with the president’s proposed Veterans Affairs budget.The cut against older veterans announced right before Memorial Day and all the speeches made about how much our veterans mean.
But unlike most of the veterans community, they think it doesn’t cut enough.
The conservative group, which has ties to prominent Republican donors and several members of President Donald Trump’s administration, is releasing a policy memo this week calling for more belt tightening and increased scrutiny of the president’s $186.5 billion budget proposal, which has already drawn criticism from groups like the American Legion for too many trims.
“We recommend that Congress aggressively seek out more savings within the VA’s budget, especially in its construction, medical facility operations, personnel, and medical compliance accounts,” the document states.
History lesson on the VA and the growing number of veterans seeking care.
On Feb. 1, 1946, Bradley reported that the VA was operating 97 hospitals with a total bed capacity of 82,241 patients. Hospital construction then in progress projected another 13,594 beds. Money was available for another 12,706 beds with the construction of 25 more hospitals and additions to 11 others. But because of the demobilization, the total number of veterans would jump to more than 15 million within a few months. The existing VA hospitals were soon filled to capacity, and there were waiting lists for admission at practically all hospitals. In addition, there were 26,057 nonservice-connected cases on the hospital waiting list. Until more VA hospitals could be opened, the Navy and Army both made beds available. To handle the dramatic increase in veterans claims, VA Central Office staff was increased in two years from 16,966 to 22,008. In the same period, field staff, charged with providing medical care, education benefits, disability payments, home loans and other benefits, rose from 54,689 employees to 96,047. When he left in 1947, Bradley reported that the VA had established 13 branch offices and 14 regional offices, and set up 721 contact offices. He noted that 29 new hospitals had been openedYes, it all happened before and considering 2 wars were added to the list of other war veterans in the backlog of claims, waiting for care as elected officials were attempting to push privatizing the VA, it makes sense the mess got worse. After all, if they had actually honored their promises to veterans, they'd never be able to get rid of it.
Currently, veterans eligible for the program have a 60 to 100 percent disability rating through the VA and are unable to secure a job because of their service-connected disability. The program allows them to get paid at the highest compensation rate. For 2017, the monthly rate for a 100 percent disabled veteran living alone is $2,915 per month.And this "unemployable benefit" goes back!
The benefit was a safety net for veterans who couldn't work because of health problems that began in the military and whose disability ratings, based on a formula combining their conditions, fell shy of 100%.
In 1945, as disabled World War I veterans continued to fall out of the workforce, the VA adopted a regulation ensuring eligibility to veterans of any age. That decision underlies much of the current growth.
More than half the 137,343 veterans approved since 2010 were 65 or older, including 13,684 who were at least 75, according to VA statistics.
The largest share served in the Vietnam era. Many joined the disability system over the last decade as the VA expanded eligibility for PTSD and diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer and other common conditions on the presumption they were caused by exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange, used to clear jungle vegetation in the war.
Once in the system, veterans are eligible for the unemployability benefit if their ailments are deemed too severe for them to work and their disability ratings reach a certain threshold, usually 60% or 70% depending on their mix of conditions.Pretty much sums up what this is all about. It is about paying to send veterans into private healthcare and treat them like everyone else. You know, the same healthcare they complain about being oh so bad for the rest of us! All these years of them saying how they want to kill "Obamacare" but now it is good enough to send veterans into that mess? Top that off with the fact that now they want our senior veterans to pay for what they do not want and you have a villain and a bunch of vultures!
Claim backlog not new and Congress promised to take care of it...New York Times reported this in 2007,
The agency’s new plan to hire at least 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog, which has soared to 755,000 from 311,000 in 2000, will require $100 million more than the president requested this year and still more in the future. The plan has been delayed by the standoff between Congress and the White House over domestic appropriations.By the following year, there was this report from Army Times
Peake wants to reduce wait times from roughly 180 days to 145 days by the start of next year. He cited aggressive efforts to hire staff, noting the VA will have 3,100 new staff by 2009. VA also is working to get greater online access to Pentagon medical information that he said will allow staff to process claims faster and move toward a system of electronic filing of claims.
Peake promised to “virtually eliminate” the current list of 69,000 veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment to get VA medical care.
And that was followed up by a backlog of claims by GovExec
VBA's pending compensation and claims backlog stood at 816,211 as of January 2008, up 188,781 since 2004, said Kerry Baker, associate legislative director of the Disabled Veterans of America, during a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.As foolish as it was to actually trust the press to get any of this right and put it all together so that all veterans knew exactly what Congress thinks of them, now is the time for them to make it up to all of our veterans and families!
Baker said VBA must have the funds necessary to upgrade its IT infrastructure to handle the backlog and a growing caseload. Anything short of an increase is "a recipe for failure," he added.
Carl Blake, national legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said VBA needed $121 million in its fiscal 2009 budget for its information technology. According to VA budget documents, VBA requested an IT budget of $109.6 million for its compensation and benefits programs, down $23.8 million from $133.4 million in 2008. VA requested an overall 2009 IT budget of $2.53 billion in 2009, up from $2.15 billion in fiscal 2008, with the largest portion earmarked for the Veterans Health Administration.
Over the weekend, I'll do the same with the suicide numbers. Oh wait, I don't really have to since I already wrote a book about it!