February 4, 2015
By Lorra B.
President Obama’s most recent 2016 budget proposal allowing more options for veterans to be seen outside the Veterans Affairs system will be rolled back, taking their choice from them.
In August of last year, Obama signed into law the Veterans Choice Program granting additional benefits to veterans. These additional benefits would allow veterans much more flexibility in handling their health care needs and faster access to care outside of the long waiting lists that have plagued the VA.
According to the Washington Examiner, however, Obama is going back on the promises made to our veterans.
On Monday, Obama declared his intention to send a legislative proposal to Congress allowing the siphoning of the $10 billion in the program’s funding. This was done after Obama said the money “is needed to support essential investments in VA system priorities in a fiscally responsible, budget-neutral manner.”
“That money was specifically allocated by him [Obama] for the choice program,” stated the legislative director for Concerned Veterans for America, Dan Coldwell. “What that would do is cause the choice program to be a lot shorter and to inevitably serve fewer veterans.”
The VA’s chief financial officer, Helen Tierney, is defending this siphon stating that “What we are getting…is that they are looking for more care within the VA system.”
But, wasn’t the whole point to give the veterans more of a CHOICE?
This new mandate not only keeps the VA system supplied with a continued built-in clientele but it also lines it up with deep pockets for awhile.
VA officials are defending the move saying the ‘choice program’ was being utilized and that veterans expressed their desire to receive care at VA facilities.
Veterans groups are saying something completely different stating that the program was full of ‘red tape’ and difficult to use. Even the Choice Card itself was a problem for veterans who after receiving it would have to call in to the VA and check if they were even eligible to use it.
Jeff Miller, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman, stated, “The president’s idea to reallocate a portion of Veterans Choice Program funding to other areas of VA is a complete non-starter, which I will not support. When a near-unanimous Congress worked with President Obama last year to create the choice program, we made a promise to veterans to give them more freedom in their healthcare decisions. I will not stand idly by while the president attempts to renege on that promise.”
The president made promises to our veterans. He promised to give them a choice in their healthcare decisions. How can you take this small freedom from the very men and women who defend YOUR freedoms, Mr. President?