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Veterans Are Speaking Out Against GOP Healthcare Bill, Many Could Lose Benefits

medicaid

By Debbie Gregory.

A lot of people are under the assumption that everyone who’s ever served in the military is covered by the VA, which is not true. Anyone who was dishonorably discharged or served for less than 24 consecutive months is not eligible for benefits.

In fact, less than half of the veterans living in the U.S. were enrolled in the VA health care system. Veterans who are eligible may not live close enough to a VA hospital, or the VA may not treat their particular condition. For these veterans, Medicaid may literally be a life saver.

That is why many veterans and veteran organizations are asking Congress to push back against the Senate health care legislation, which would cost some 459,500 veterans and more than 14 million civilians to lose Medicaid coverage by 2026.

There are some 1.75 million veterans who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage. In fact, veterans were among the demographic that saw the greatest increases in insurance coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Will Fischer is a former United States Marine, Iraq war veteran and now the director of government outreach for VoteVets, a progressive veterans advocacy organization.

“Trumpcare is an antiveteran bill,” said Fischer.  “If Trumpcare passes, veterans will die. That’s a simple fact.”

VoteVets teamed up with Families USA, a nonpartisan consumer health advocacy group, to produce a detailed report on the impact of Medicaid funding cuts to veterans and their families.

The report, was distributed to “every congressional office on House and Senate side to make sure they were aware of how this affects veterans.”

VoteVets is prepared to run attack ads and launch canvassing campaigns against any senator who votes “to gut Medicaid and to rip health care from veterans.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Post 9/11 Disabled Vets Still Opting for VA Health Care

va wait

By Debbie Gregory.

It appears as though the Veterans Affairs (VA) wait-times scandal has not curbed the flow of disabled veterans who want care through the department.

In fact, the percentage of disabled post-9/11 vets with health insurance through the Veterans Affairs Department has increased 11 percent over the last few years.

According to a survey done by the Wounded Warrior Project, 71  percent of injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans said they had VA health care coverage in 2016, compared to 66 percent in 2015, and 59 percent in 2014.

The 2014 Veterans’ Access, Choice, and Accountability Act expanded health insurance options for many vets, allowing them to use private health care providers in cases where VA could not meet their needs.

The survey revealed the most common injuries and health problems respondents reported: post-traumatic stress disorder (77 percent); sleep issues (76 percent); back, neck or shoulder problems (72 percent); and depression (70 percent).

But all of the news wasn’t favorable: disabled vets who participated in the survey reported difficulties accessing physical and mental health care through the VA and outside providers. Thirty-five percent of respondents reported mental health care access problems, with the most common reason cited being “personal schedules that conflicted with the hours of operation of VA health care.” The fourth most commonly-cited reason was “difficulty in scheduling appointments” (32 percent). For those seeking physical health care, 40 percent of those with VA and other types of health care said they’d experienced problems scheduling appointments, the top reason in that category, while 45 percent of those respondents with VA as their primary health care provider cited difficulties with scheduling appointments.

Thirty-seven percent of those using VA as their primary health provider cited a lack of availability in VA specialty clinics (compared to 31 percent of all respondents), while 37 percent of respondents using VA as their primary health care said the department’s requirements made it difficult to get referrals for necessary specialty treatment for physical problems, compared to 31 percent for all respondents with those issues.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.