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Posted at 02:41 PM on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 by post1785Washington, March 4, 2009 - The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. wants the Obama administration to kill a controversial budget proposal that would bill veterans with private health insurance for the care they receive for their service-connected disabilities and wounds.
"It is unconscionable to pass along the costs of war to wounded and disabled veterans," said the VFW's Glen M. Gardner Jr., a Vietnam veteran from Round Rock, Texas. "This is one policy proposal that the VFW will work hard to defeat because it breaks a sacred trust that veterans have with their government."
The administration proposed Thursday that the Department of Veterans Affairs would receive $55.9 billion in discretionary funding in fiscal year 2010, an amount that exceeds the current year budget by $5.5 billion. Gardner said the proposal includes good initiatives, such as additional funding to enable more veterans to enroll into the VA system, to expand the concurrent receipt of disability compensation and retirement pay for medically-retired veterans, and to target access to care issues, especially for rural veterans. But the VFW national commander stopped short of applauding the budget when it was confirmed that VA would increase third party collections by billing for service-connected disability treatments.