There’s a disturbing report out of Washington that has nothing to do with truck accidents or litigation, but about which I’m writing anyway.
Reportedly the Obama administration is considering a proposal to bill veterans’ private individual insurance carriers for treatment of service-related medical conditions at Veterans Administration medical center. Currently the VA bills insurer only for treatment that is not service related.
As reported by Fred Lucas at CNS News, veteran groups are understandably negative about the idea. They are concerned that shifting more of the cost to private insurance will do several things:
1. drive up premiums for veterans;
2. make it more difficult for injured veterans to find and retain health insurance;
3. discourage employers from hiring disabled veterans; and
5. make a war injury a pre-existing condition.
The other side of the debate is the concern that health insurers are getting a free ride, according to Adam Levine of CNN.
Senator Patty Murray (D.- Wash.) said, “I believe that veterans with service-connected injuries have already paid by putting their lives on the line for our safety. When our troops are injured while serving this country, we should take care of those injuries completely. We shouldn’t nickel and dime them with their care.”
Indeed, generations of America’s youth have marched off to war with the promise that if they were injured fighting for our country, Uncle Sam would take care of the service-related medical needs. That promise should be kept.
The toughest choices are not between good and bad, but between good and good, and between bad and bad. But whatever decision is made, let’s hope the priority is on keeping faith with the veterans who took the bullets and the bombs for the rest of us.
UPDATE 3/19/09 – The news today is that the administration has abandoned the proposal to shift veterans’ medical expense to the veterans’ private insurers.