I wrote before of being aghast at the Obama administration’s idea to make US military personnel buy private insurance to pay for treatment for combat wounds by the VA. I felt certain they’d realize how stupid and insulting this proposal is and would quietly drop it.
I was wrong.
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!”
Liberals often protest that they respect and honor the military, that they “care for the troops,” and then they give us garbage like this? Let me put this as plainly as I can: the men and women who serve in our armed forces are volunteers. We ask them to defend our nation’s interests –and our very lives– at the risk of wounding, permanent disfigurement, and even death. And they freely agree to do just that. When they are injured in the course of that service, we owe them the best medical care the nation can provide, at the nation’s expense. This isn’t just a contractual obligation — it is a moral imperative. It is the only decent thing to do, and to even consider making wounded soldiers pay for their own care is obscene.
The Obama administration says they need to raise $540 million dollars and that this is a good way to do it. May I suggest to these geniuses that they could instead cut that much in pork-barrel spending from the stimulus bill alone, and still have plenty leftover for dog runs?
There’s growing discontent and doubt about the administration and its policies, even from its supporters, but it has yet to translate into active anger at Obama himself, who remains personally popular. This, however, could be the tipping point. Whatever people may feel about the wars we’re fighting, the military and its personnel are held in high regard by most Americans — far higher than Congress, for example. As a volunteer force in a democratic republic, Americans feel a sense of ownership over the military and concern for its members that isn’t found in authoritarian states. And they will not be happy with Obama’s slap in the face against their friends and relatives.
President Obama should be careful: a seemingly “little policy change” like this could be the catalyst that turns the public’s growing but still inchoate frustration into a burning anger directed at him and his party, costing them dearly at the ballot box.
LINKS: Fausta, Baseball Crank, AJ Strata, Sister Toldjah, & Ed Morrissey.
JUST WORDS: And here’s what the President himself had to say about caring for our veterans:
Guess this must be another of those seemingly endless Obama Promises(tm) that come with expiration dates.
UPDATE: They’re laughing at you, Mr. President-Messiah
UPDATE II: Faced with bipartisan scorn and contempt, the administration has withdrawn the proposal. Ed Morrissey has the money quote:
If he respected veterans, he wouldn’t have proposed it in the first place. All this shows is that Obama “respects” the potential for fumbling away any hope of re-election.
Edit 2/27/2012: Fixed a link that referred to the old Typepad site.