Thursday, March 19, 2009

After Blunt Concerns, Obama Drops Veterans Plan

President Obama has scrapped a proposal that would have required veterans to use private health insurance to pay for combat-related industries.
The announcement comes on the same day that Ozarks Congressman Roy Blunt sent a letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs calling the idea "irrational and callous" to the 63,000 veterans living in the 7th Congressional District.
"Forcing our veterans to pay for treatment of their combat injuries will reportedly burden them with the $530 million this change would cost and is clearly an affront to the to the VA’s mission statement reflecting President Lincoln’s promise "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan," Blunt wrote in a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Blunt also said that he worried that pushing combat injuries onto personal insurance plans could make service to our nation a pre-existing condition.
Having dropped this controversial idea, the Obama administration still said it will pursue other ways to save an estimated $500 million dollars a year.
CQ Politics is also reporting on how Congressional Republicans are trying to reassert themselves on the healthcare debate. Blunt, who is chair of the House GOP healthcare task force, acknowledged that the issue needs to become a greater focus for his caucus.

"One of the goals of our working group . . . is also to get our members in this discussion, both in Washington and in their districts,” Blunt said to CQ. "If we could get the same kind of engagement on health care from our conference that we got on energy last year, that in and of itself would be a great success," he added.

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