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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-12-07 08:24 AM
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Editorial: Veterans Without Health Care
Veterans Without Health Care
Published: November 9, 2007

Although many Americans believe that the nations veterans have ready access to health care, that is far from the case. A new study by researchers at the Harvard Medical School has found that millions of veterans and their dependents have no access to care in veterans hospitals and clinics and no health insurance to pay for care elsewhere. Their plight represents yet another failure of our disjointed health care system to provide coverage for all Americans.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, estimated that in 2004 nearly 1.8 million veterans were uninsured and unable to get care in veterans facilities. An additional 3.8 million members of their households faced the same predicament. All told, this group made up roughly 12 percent of the huge population of uninsured Americans.

Most of the uninsured veterans were working-class people who were too poor to afford private insurance but not poor enough to qualify for care under a priority system administered by the Veterans Affairs Department. Some were unable to get care because there was no V.A. facility nearby, or the nearest facility had a long waiting list, or they could not afford the co-payments required of some veterans.

There is little doubt that lack of coverage was deleterious to their health. Like other uninsured Americans, the uninsured veterans report that they have delayed or forgone care because of costs. Half had not seen a doctor in the past year, and two-thirds got no preventive care.

And the situation has been getting worse. Despite a shrinking population of working-age veterans, the number of uninsured veterans increased by 290,000 between 2000 and 2004, propelled by a steady erosion of health care coverage in the workplace and a tightening of enrollment criteria for veterans care.

The V.A. has long focused on caring for recent combat veterans, those with service-connected disabilities or special needs and the poorest veterans. Other veterans were served to the extent that resources were available. Unfortunately, in recent years enrollment of higher-income, nondisabled veterans shot up so fast that long waiting lists developed and budgets failed to keep pace, forcing a freeze on enrollments in this category.

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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-12-07 08:43 AM
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1. I'm all for the veterans getting whatever health care they need.
Edited on Mon Nov-12-07 08:44 AM by Benhurst
Why don't we joint the civilized world and provide single-payer universal health care for EVERY AMERICAN?

America, still kicking and screaming as it is slowly being pulled into the Twentieth Century. In another fifty or seventy-five years it might make it to the Twenty-first.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-12-07 09:00 AM
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2. I'm one of those veterans.
I never bothered signing up with the VA for health care because I always had good health insurance through my employer. When I retired, I was guaranteed "retiree health benefits".

When the company went under (was run into the ground by mis-management), there went our health insurance, and it was too late to sign up for VA care.
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