President won’t budge on veteran insurance proposal

| March 16, 2009 | 42 Comments

Regular readers will remember the exchange I wrote about last week in which Eric Shinseki the new VA director proposed a system to force veterans to buy insurance to treat their service-connected injuries from a Stars and Stripes article;

The administration is considering charging veterans’ health insurance plans earned through civilian employment for VA’s costs in treating service-connected injuries or ailments.

The VA already taps “third party” insurance plans for treatment of non-service-related conditions. Collections in fiscal 2008 totaled $2.4 billion. The VA expects to collect $2.5 billion this year. The total could jump to $3 billion next year if care of service-connected conditions are included.

Shinseki emphasized that this is only a consideration and not yet part of Obama’s budget request. But members of the veterans’ committees wanted Shinseki to know they won’t support the proposal.

I made mention to some people that it was a done deal in the collective mind of the Obama Administration. I was told it wasn’t – that I was over-reacting. Well, look at this from the American Legion today;

The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, “This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ‘ to care for him who shall have borne the battle’ given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America’s veterans!”

Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The group’s early afternoon conversation at The White House was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of ten colleague organizations, read, in part, ” There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran’s personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable.”

Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran’s condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits.

“I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted,” said Commander Rehbein, “is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the President’s financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near future.

“I only hope the administration will really listen to us then. This matter has far more serious ramifications than the President is imagining,” concluded the Commander.

SOURCE The American Legion

The emphasis is mine.

Here’s a screen shot in case it comes down later;

Notice that this is part of the Obama budget plan – he thinks he’s going to get a $half-billion from this proposal to fund some of the other stuff he wants to buy. I don’t know where they get that number from.

This will jack up everyone’s insurance premiums if insurance companies are forced to accept pre-existing conditions of veterans…most of all the premiums of veterans. But it’s what I’ve been warning about since before the election – I wish I didn’t have to say “I told you so” but Democrats are famous for making veterans and the military pay for their buying electoral patronage.

To their credit, the American Legion commander isn’t pussy-footing around on this. I’m wondering where my own VFW is with their press release. I guess, I’d better buy my lifetime membership in the American Legion.

And, oh, who thinks Shinseki will resign in protest over this? Yeah, me neither.

UPDATE at 11PM Eastern: Our local CHANNEL 9 News (WUSA) reports that Shinseki claims he’ll oppose the measure when the whole bill is presented next month. Why is he waiting? Look, Eric, we all know you – just fold like a K-Mart lawn chair now and get it over with.

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  1. TSO says:

    For all those out there who sing the mantra of “Biggest increase in VA funding ever”….the 560 million is counted in that figure. So, factor that in when defending the One.

  2. defendUSA says:

    Barack “I don’t lie” Obama, BFE, TIC

    Buddy Fucker, extraordinaire. Traitor in chief. Loser.

  3. Dell says:

    Yet another kick in the balls from one particular side of the aisle inside the beltway! Apparently the Kerry/Murtha clout is nowhere near as potent within the Democrat Party as we have been led to believe. Meanwhile, all of the well-documented reports of how Democrats despise the military just got another page added, one I suspect that will resonate from sea-to-shining sea among the family and friends of Veterans everywhere. All of the TALK of support for veterans is simply window dressing and campaign rhetoric, designed to win votes, but when the time comes to back up that rhetoric with action, the administration (from the top) shoves it up our rectum and sends us a bill for the honor!

  4. olga says:

    I am disgusted by all this…

  5. rcd33b says:

    Little did “they” dare to hope…yes, dare to believe, that the day would come when American soldiers would be required to pay for medical treatment. Code Pink and Jane Fonda are delighted to hear this.

    Dust Off $45,000.00
    Corpsman Field Call Out: $2500.00
    Medical Bag supplies: $1500.00
    etc., etc.

    PS-Shrapnel torn and bloodstained uniform, $100.00.

  6. PDizzle says:

    I look forward to hearing IAVA and Vote Vets condemn this proposal.

    Jonn wrote: To his credit, Paul Reickhoff was in the same meeting with the President and told him this proposal was wrong. You know how hard it was for me to say something not terrible about Reickhoff.

  7. Jon Brooks says:

    Bringing us all one step closer to a coup? Think about it ..really.

  8. Chris says:

    Well, I eamiled my Congressman….We’ll see what good that will do; I live in Massachusetts.

    TSO Wrote: Pains me to admit this, but I am from Mass too. However, depending on who your congressman is, I think you might be surprised. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any of the Mass reps that would support this initiative. Maybe Olver, but I kind of doubt that one too. Frank, surprisingly enough, is the most likely to jack Obama up on this.

  9. JuniorAG says:

    My expectations of the CiC were pretty low, ‘specialy because he was enthralled by Karl never employed Marx, the creator of the most murderous political system of the 20th and 21st centuries.
    When Comrade 0 chucked the Brits, one of the few true allies who are fighting and DYING alongside us in the GWOT, unlike some erstwhile allies who have an ROE that precludes combat & spend their days in Konduz drinking beer,under the bus, I knew we were farked seven ways to Sunday…

    Now that the Obamunist has chit canned his alleged idol’s promise to ‘ to care for him who shall have borne the battle’, I expect him to surpass a certain wretched peanut farmer’s previous damage done to the military.

    I am a member of IAVA, if IAVA goes along with this, my membership is forfeit.

  10. JuniorAG says:

    Jonn wrote: To his credit, Paul Reickhoff was in the same meeting with the President and told him this proposal was wrong. You know how hard it was for me to say something not terrible about Reickhoff.

    Okay, scratch my last sentence from the above post.

  11. Mr Wolf says:

    This will do more to enlarge the rolls of the VFW and Legion than ANYTHING since WWII.

    Thank you, Brother O, for saving these organizations.

    GO! FIGHT! WIN!

    Mr Wolf

  12. cmblake6 says:

    When is the final frakking straw? Is he really trying to foment a revolution? I’m going to put this as a link in one of my posts from a day or so ago.

  13. USAFPJ says:

    ‘When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.’ Thomas Jefferson

    REVOLUTION is the Solution!!!

    ‘God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.’ – Thomas Jefferson, in letter to William S. Smith, 1787

  14. Scrapiron says:

    What is the idiot doing? Creating 15-20 million assassins who know how to shoot and a lot of them are experts at bomb making.

    I got a bumper sticker in an email that fits O’Dumbo:
    BARACK OBAMA
    is loud and makes you feel good
    but it’s only hot air!

    MUCH LIKE A FART

  15. thiaCyn says:

    Is it the seventy two virgins that have inspired the ranks of the elite, that the deaths of their being go down to ruin a country! Gets ya to wondering huh. I believe we have waken a sleeping giant, here we go again!

  16. Richard Romano says:

    This is a disgrace — they better not go forward with this, it will only galvanize the American people against this administration (which might be a good thing).

    Our troops deserve everything we can give them — it should be our pleasure to provide medical care. How shameful, I’m very angry about this.

  17. fmfnavydoc says:

    Shinseki is just another clone of Wesley Clark…political animal, so you wont see him resigning anytime soon. Looks like Obambi and Shinseki are Prez and VP of the Blue Falcon Fan Club…and the military and vets are going to pay for it in the long run…

  18. Steven says:

    I’m not sure how good an idea it would be, but it bears thinking about. What would happen if the entire officer corps resigned their commissions en masse, until a President loyal to the United States should be installed? Obviously a legitimate government would reinstate them, but would such an action promote the reinstatement of a legitimate government?

  19. Miguel Grande says:

    Let me be the first to say, “THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!”

    Viva La Revolution

  20. mindy abraham says:

    I am disgusted. I emailed my senator, but I am from NY, so who knows

  21. USN Vet says:

    All of us Veterans swore an oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. They (the domestic terrorists / politicians) once again have proven that the enemies of the state are surrounded by the beltway in DC. I believe in the concepts of our founding fathers and I have stood a post to protect those concepts. I am not afraid to do it again! Are you? All I have to say is I am glad I don’t work for the Treasury Dept. Next thing you know Obama will be telling the Secret Service that they need to be looking for insurance plans in case they are injured.

  22. marinemom says:

    Squeeze the military and vets so there’s plenty of $$$$ left for Acorn and Hamas. Has this country gone mad? Don’t answer that. I could just scream.

  23. bethn135 says:

    I hope all the veterans who voted for this Communist or any DEMOCRAT Senator,Representative OR GOVENOR are HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!Name me one, just one DemoRAT who has ever given a @#*# about the MILITARY!!! YOU CAN’T BECAUSE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Mike Bailey says:

    I don’t understand the huge outcry, the government has been billing 3rd parties for military medical treatment for decades, my step children were military dependents and entitled to free medical care at DDEAMc at Fort Gordon, and it did not matter what we took them to Eisenhower Medical Center for, they billed my Blue Cross a 100.000 for every visit, if it was a mental health visit or a lab test Blue Cross was billed 100.00 no questions asked why? Their father were a retired major and a CW4 and they were dependents, I married their mother yet the Army billed my Blue Cross for their treatment and this was under Bill Cliontonand G.W Bush, so to blame Obama for this is ridiculous, it has been happening for decades. But no SC medical problems should not be billed to insurance companies, I am a 100% disabled Army Staff Sergeant and I don’t even pay for Medicare why should I? I am entitled to free care for all of my medical problems due to my total disability from my military service, is the government going to force me to pay for medicare Part B so they can bill Medicare for my medical treatment? Why should I be forced to pay for Medicare Part B when the Army promised to care for me for life if I became 100% disabled whuile on active duty, I did and I expect them to keep their promise. But President Obama is not the one who started billing 3rd parties for medical bills, this has been ongoing for decades.

  25. Brown Neck Gaitor says:

    “Our local CHANNEL 9 News (WUSA) reports that Shinseki claims he’ll oppose the measure when the whole bill is presented next month. Why is he waiting?”

    Because he is actually in favor of the idea. But Eric the Hat has decided (or been told) that he has a furture beyond a Sec position in the one term Obama Admin. Look for Eric the Hat to slobber on his index finger, stick it up in the air and see which way the wind blows.

    After all, Senator Inouye will be 75 in September and is up for reelection in 2010….

  26. Brown Neck Gaitor says:

    Mike Bailey,

    Here is the difference between your example and what Obama is proposing.

    Obama is talking about LINE OF DUTY injuries and disabilities.

  27. Peter says:

    As much as I disliked and disagreed with Bill Clinton, I never disrespected the office. However, with B. Hussein Obama, I have taken to using “bastard” and “SOB” routinely to refer to the current occupant of the Oval Office.

    Oh, and the tagline from the Left under Bush: Not. My. President.

  28. Impeach him says:

    Think of it as a) delivering customers to the insurance companies that helped elect him. Now I know it looks, like a charge to them, but it’s not. He’s more than offset their cost while delivering an entire new line of service – and one that will have considerable political clout for future subsidies once it is privatized.

    Which brings me to b) He wants to get rid of the VA. I realize most folks here are probably dead set against “socialized medicine,” but that’s what the VA is. Obama wants to deliver you to the tender mercies of the “your money or your life” system of health care. It’s a twofer: more customers for his patrons, and one less alternative.

  29. SpideyTerry says:

    Disgusting. Obama once again proves how incompetent, arrogant and undeserving of his position he really is.

    Would this issue have happened under Bush or McCain? Yeah, not a chance in hell.

  30. UpNorth says:

    If Shinseki isn’t gone by week’s end, he just proves he has no honor. We already know that the Obamunist has no honor. I’m sure he has no idea of the seeds he’s sowing now. The inmates have taken over the asylum.
    $900 Million for Hamas, not a penny for veterans.

  31. not only would this result in increased premiums and costs (deductibles, matching, co-pays, etc.) for those with wounds and injuries RECEIVED WHILE ACTING AT THE DIRECTION OF THE US GOV’T ON BEHALF OF ALL ITS CITIZENS, it will lead to cancellations and exhaustion of coverage in the blink of an eye. IF a WIA even has insurance through an employer, how soon do you think they’ll reach their “lifetime limit” on the policies? And will the “10 mental health visits a year” be enforced for those with PTS and PTSD??

    According to a 2007 study (2004 data):

    Using government data, Woolhandler and her co-authors found 1.8 million veterans who were uninsured and not receiving VA care in 2004, the most recent year available. That represented an increase of 290,000 since 2000. They also identified 3.8 million family members of those veterans who also had no health insurance. Together they account for 12.2 percent of the 47 million uninsured people in the United States.

    And since 2004 was significantly before the key years of the war in Iraq, what do you think those numbers might look like now???

    Then let us discuss the effect of such a policy on employability of the wounded and/or disabled: how many employers do you think will hire veterans — let alone those who have been wounded in battle and those that carry a disability — if they know they will have to subsidize the VA with increased premium and other medical costs, medical leaves, etc.

    and if the Obama admin wants to know where it should get the money??? take it from: Hamas, AIG, Citibank, ACORN, Congressional benefits, White House entertainment, or any number of porkulus projects that seem to flow so freely elsewhere.

    This whole idea is F!@#$%^&* OUTRAGEOUS. These veterans gave the country their blood and Obama wants to give them sh*t in return.

    If you need a resourse to send email to your elected representatives, you can use the tools at congress.gov, senate.gov or one email to all (Pres., Senate & Congress) via congress.org DO IT NOW.

  32. Rose says:

    His contempt for the people who serve the US is pallatable, I guess this is one way for him to further punished the ill and injured military members. His true agenda is starting to become public, he’s an evil man who worships his own craven image. Socialists hate people who serve their countries, utterly hates them.

    Insurance companies are in business for profit, the majority of the injured will use up the insurance cap in under a year and then what? No one else will insure them, then what more war vets dying in the streets?

  33. Thebes says:

    First of all, for the record, I am and have always been active in my protests against our nation’s foreign military aggressions.

    BUT we have a f#!&*@g obligation to treat those injured while doing their duty and obeying their orders. Not even Bush tried to treat our nation’s veterans with such disdain. Its utter bull@%it to rob a half billion from those injured during their service to misguided presidents and then just turn around and hand that money to the corporate bankers too.

    I just hope that if the Federal Govt tries to institute martial law that our soldiers remember how they’ve been treated and rise up against the federalist tyrants.

  34. Longhorn Six says:

    Shinseki resign in protest? It is probably his idea in the first place. He is a disgrace. His only claim to fame is stealing the Ranger beret and giving it to everyone in the Army.

    How long will it be befor the Tree of Liberty is refreshed again?

  35. sadtimes says:

    Let’s rock hopey-one kenobi, rock all day long.

    ain’t nuthin…

    lan astaslem!

  36. alexis says:

    Let’s rock hopy-one kenobi,rock all day long. ain’t nuthin… lan astaslem

  37. Dreamwalker2000 says:

    How can they look our wounded in the eye and ask for more…after they have already sacrificed and given their blood and the lives of their commarades? No one has the right to say “You gave your leg to defend this country and now you get to pay for it cause we are not responsible”. Its UnAmerican and its unacceptable. There is something seriously wrong with our country if it allows such a bill to be approved. As it is, the disability pay is not enough, and that is even if the person has been lucky enough to have their wounds even approved for disability pay.

    On a side note, ever since I started visiting this site and a few select others, my internet browsing history and other files have been mysteriously disappearing off of my computer, so I hope someone sees this…God bless america…or at least the america that once was.

  38. Dreamwalker2000 says:

    It’s up to us in our time to choose and choose wisely between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.

    – President Ronald Reagan

  39. D. Johnson says:

    Folks get the facts staight. The VSOs did us not justice when they shot down the president’s proposal to bill insurance companies for care given in VA Hospitals. We currently bill insurance companies for care given to Active Duty Family members, Retirees and Retiree Family members who received care in military facilities. The money received goes directly back to the facility which does the billing and is used to improve service in the facility. Whether the beneficiaries have a third party insurance or not, they are all given the same level of care. Health insurance carriers are the big winners with this as they do not have to pay for care that they would have been charged if the care was provided in a private medical facility. I clearly understand the initial political perception, but the truth of the matter is that healthcare cost have grown exponentially. We have to do something about it. Healthcare in military and VA facilities is cheaper and is paid for by the American Taxpayer, as it should. But as the cost of healthcare increases, the decision to spend money on healthcare or Tanks will become more pronounced. In the end, we will do both, but at what cost?

    Jonn wrote: Our facts are straight. You’re talking about insurance companies paying for service-connected injuries and that’s wrong. The VSOs did the right thing. Without VA and military care for service connected injuries, most veterans would never qualify for employer-provided insurance because of a pre-existing condition. That means either they’d have no insurance, or they’d pay exorbitant premiums for it. For a debt the nation owes them. You get your facts straight before you come in here shooting off your stupid mouth.

  40. Raoul says:

    D. Johnson,

    Let’s cut your welfare, make you get a job and make you pay taxes.

  41. Anon says:

    http://ourvoice.legion.org/story/1451/legion-commander-praises-obamas-change-plan

    “WASHINGTON (March 18, 2009) – The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization applauded President Obama for dropping his plan to bill private insurance companies for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. ”

    Jonn wrote: Do you have a point, or did you just learn how to cut and paste?

  42. Anonymous says:

    GOD , HELP US

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