The Obama administration is considering a plan to make veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries.
The proposal would be an about-face on what veterans think is a longstanding pledge to pay for health-care costs that result from their military service.
In a White House meeting Monday, veterans groups apparently failed to persuade President Barack Obama to take the plan off the table.
“Veterans of all generations agree that this proposal is bad for the country and bad for veterans,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“If the president and the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) want to cut costs, they can start at (ailing insurance giant) AIG, not the VA.”
Under current policy, veterans are responsible for health-care costs that are unrelated to their military service.
Exceptions in some cases can be for veterans without private insurance or who are 100 percent disabled.
Lawmakers on Tuesday "explicitly ruled out" the possibility of enacting President Obama's proposal to have private insurers cover the costs of combat-related injuries for veterans, the Washington Post reports (Scott Tyson, Washington Post, 3/18).
Under the policy, which is included in Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget proposal, the Department of Veterans Affairs would bill health insurers for treatment of injuries and conditions sustained as a result of veterans' military service.
Currently, VA covers those costs and bills health insurers only for treatment for conditions unrelated to veterans' military service.