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Dennis "Mike" Barber
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Posted at 07:47 AM on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 by post1789Washington, March 17, 2009 - President Obama met yesterday with the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. to discuss the VFW's opposition to an administration proposal to bill veterans with private health insurance for the care they receive for their service-connected disabilities and wounds.
"The president told us that he would not go through with the third-party billing proposal if he felt the veterans' community didn't approve of it," said Glen M. Gardner Jr., who leads the nation's largest organization of combat veterans. "We made our opposition clearly known."
The administration proposed Feb. 26 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. Included, however, was a proposal to increase third-party collections by billing for service-connected disability treatments.