As another brilliant example of the Bush Administration supporting our troops, hidden in one of the many bills passed during the Republican-controlled Congress was a little-noticed provision to cut off VA Health Care for millions of veterans from all our wars of aggression.
Under this provision, any veteran who is 0% service-connected (not disabled by being wounded or otherwise injured during their service) will be unable to enroll in VA Health Care after January 17, 2008. This ends a promise made to vets that has stood since WWII, that their health care needs would be taken care of in perpetuity.
ALL VETERANS: Take a copy of your DD214 and RUN do not walk to your nearest VA Clinic and enroll in VA Health Care - even if you don't need it right now! If you lose your civilian health insurance and need to fall back on VA Health Care - you will not be able to unless you enroll now.
IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WAR VETS: This applies to you as well - only the news is actually worse. In the last military appropriation bill, your "free" health care was extended from two years to five. Yes, you heard right - you are currently only entitled to two years of free health care - even if you have seen combat. After Bush vetoed the military spending bill, which contained another three years, you are back to TWO WHOLE YEARS!
EVERYONE: Write to your Congresscritters and protest this asinine policy. I am a veteran - who never saw combat during the Vietnam era. I am enrolled, and as such, am entitled to whatever healthcare I need for the rest of my life. I have no other health insurance (due to pre-existing conditions and past medical problems) so the VA system is my lifeline. But why in the world are the combat veterans of our latest idiotic wars being told they can only have TWO YEARS? Some ailments do not become apparent until much later. For instance - Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange develop diabetes at a rate that has resulted in an automatic assignment to a special group for care. However, this diabetes does not develop in some cases for 10-20 years later. Another example - Gulf War vets from the first time who suffer from Gulf War Syndrome develop strange cancers and other problems - but much later than two years after the fact - and many are still fighting to get their diagnoses confirmed.
This is totally nuts - and is yet another example of the Bush Administration's support of the valiant fighting men and women - NOT!
So...if you are a vet - or you know one - urge them all to go sign up. Even if they don't need it. Right now. Even if they have heard horror stories. Even if they never use it. Sign up anyway. We need to send a message that VA Health Care is a right for ALL VETERANS as compensation for their service. (The pay certainly isn't much!)