Yesterday it was reported that President Obama committed to "uphold the 'sacred trust' with those serving in harm's way abroad." Sounds inspiring. He must really respect the men and women who serve in our military risking their lives to protect our nation. That's what you'd think, at least. Typical of the inconsistencies between Obama's words and deeds, a policy that he's proposing will do anything but uphold the sacred trust with our military.
President Obama wants to shift the cost of treating our wounded warriors, injured while in the line of duty, from the government to third party insurance companies. For all intents and purposes, this places the burden of treating wounded vets directly into their own laps because insurance companies will eventually drop them or raise their premiums so high that those serving won't be able to afford to pay them. So much for that sacred trust business.
The head of the American Legion spoke with Barack Obama today in an attempt to convince the president that this is a terrible idea. He came away perturbed to say the least:
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."
What makes this so egregious is that at the same time he wants to offload the cost of treating wounded vets, President Obama wants health care reformed so more Americans fall underneath the umbrella government care. Why? Because he thinks health care should be a right. This is what he said during a debate with John McCain:
OBAMA: Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills -- for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don't have to pay her treatment, there's something fundamentally wrong about that.
Here's the video so you can watch it for yourself:
Let me see if I've got this right: dealing with an insurance company is simply below the dignity of the American people, yet it's just fine for the men and women of our military risking their lives to protect this nation and its citizens? To quote President Obama, there's something fundamentally wrong about that.
In order to see that health care is treated as a right for all Americans, he's going to need money and a lot of it. The $540 million dollars that he's banking on receiving by outsourcing our wounded vets' treatment is one way of making it, I suppose. But how will the American people, who are very protective of those serving in the military, feel knowing that their health care is being funded on the backs of our selfless warriors?
What the president fails to see, or maybe he does see this but just doesn't care, is that insurance companies most likely won't cover a military serviceman or servicewoman as they pose too much of a risk. And even if an insurance carrier does accept a military serviceman, his premiums most certainly be exorbitant it would make the policy very difficult for a military family to afford. The result? Our military men and women will find themselves paying for their own treatment themselves if they are wounded in battle.
I'd like to know where First Lady Michelle Obama stands on this issue since she is so "distressed by the plight of many military families who are struggling to keep their heads above the poverty line while the soldier, airman or marine of the family is in harm's way in Iraq or Afghanistan." Her husband's proposed policy will cost cause military families money they don't have and will compound the stress they already feel. How is this upholding the "sacred trust"?
And what about future warriors? Who will volunteer to defend this nation if one of the requirements is to pay for your own treatment if you are injured? A draft may have to be an option if the volunteer rate drops. Just imagine the government forcing men to enlist in the military and then making it their personal responsibility to pay for their treatment if they suffer any injuries.
Upholding the sacred trust is not the message the military is getting here. It's more like this:
Milblogger Blackfive says there will be a war over this policy.
I expect the House and Senate will overwhelming reject this idea because it's out and out sick and disgusting; however, the American people, especially those who voted for Obama with the belief he supports and respects those who serve in the military, need to know how little regard or respect he actually has for the military.
Update: Many military organizations have voiced their outrage about Obama's money grab by making servicemen and women pay for their own treatment. What is the White House's response?
Roberts said that 11 veterans service organizations were told to come up with another plan if they didn't like this one. The groups met on Monday with Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Office of Management and Budget defense spending chief Steven Kosiak.
"What we've been tasked with now is to raise this money through alternative means and we're supposed to have a conference call in two or three days ... with Rahm Emanuel. So the implication was ... you guys come up with a better idea or this is what's going to happen," Roberts said.
Update II: Locutisprime at Brutally Honest has a post that is a must read. As a Vietnam Vet, he has much to say about Obama's disdain for the men and women serving in the military.