Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance. . .
No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.
The groups also cited an increase in “third-party collections” estimated in the 2010 budget proposal — something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.
Asked about the proposal, Shinseki said it was under “consideration.”
“A final decision hasn’t been made yet,” he said.
Currently, veterans’ private insurance is charged only when they receive health care from the VA for medical issues that are not related to service injuries, like getting the flu.
Charging for service-related injuries would violate “a sacred trust,” Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis said. Davis said the move would risk private health care for veterans and their families by potentially maxing out benefits paying for costly war injury treatments.
I’m honestly shocked by this. Set aside the obvious (or so I would have thought) immorality of charging veterans for treatment of injuries incurred while serving their country. Also set aside the bizarre spectacle of arguing for universal health care while cutting back health care for veterans. And set aside the strange decision to demand sacrifices of veterans while the government goes on a deficit-financed spending spree.
All that aside, it strikes me as terrible politics. Why slap veterans in the face with a plan that will never be enacted? I don’t get it.