Save Our County's and Country's Veterans' Health Care sign now

Save Health Care for Our County's and Country's Veterans

Call Congress at (888) 355-3588 and (877) 762-8762-- and the White House at (800) 321-8268 on this.

Contact our County Legislature at 486-2100, [email protected], or [email protected] to help get this resolution below passed (submitted by County Legislator Joel Tyner May 20th).

Contact 876-2488 or [email protected] for more information.

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STAND UP FOR OUR COUNTY'S AND COUNTRY'S VETERANS AND THEIR HEALTH CARE

WHEREAS, representing more than 7 million military veterans, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars on January 19th reaffirmed their unanimous support for fully funding the veterans health care system; the organizations are members of the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, along with Vietnam Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and others, and

WHEREAS, as American Legion National Commander Thomas P. Cadmus stated, "VA health care is an ongoing cost of war; every veteran answered the nation's call to arms without reservation; as wartime veterans, Legionnaires understand the importance of the VA health care system; short-changing VA health care is short-changing every military veteran from Bunker Hill to Baghdad; America's veterans are not expendable and should never be treated as such," and

WHEREAS, as National VFW Commander John Furgess stated, "This is a budget that's headed in the wrong direction; on behalf of our
nation's 25 million veterans and those serving in uniform today, I
urge this Congress to remember that the phrase, 'From a grateful
nation,' means more than just a few words spoken at military
funerals," and

WHEREAS, this national crisis has been well documented by, among others, the President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans; in its final report released in May 2003, the task
force identified a significant mismatch between demand for VA
services and available funding which, if left unresolved, would delay
veterans' access to care and threaten the quality of care provided;
to resolve this intolerable situation, the task force recommended the
federal government provide full funding for veterans health care
through modifications to the current budget and appropriations
process, by using a mandatory funding mechanism or by some other
changes to achieve the desired goal, and

WHEREAS, congressional budget resolution H.Con.Res. 95 leaves the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs $2 billion short of
meeting the needs of our veterans; VA will not be able to make
critical program enhancements for servicemembers returning from Iraq
and Afghanistan, and it is even deficient to maintain current
services, and

WHEREAS, the White House's budget submission for FY 2006 requested less than half of a one-percent increase for its health care
services; the Office of Veterans Affairs has testified that it
requires a 13- to 14-percent increase just to adjust for the growth
in VA enrollment partly due to the rising tide of uninsured and
underinsured Americans and medical inflation rates often approaching
eight percent, and

WHEREAS, the $990 million recommendation passed in the House and Senate is only an increase of 3.6 percent over FY 2005; this may only be enough to compensate VA for once again rejecting the proposals the President has sent up to increase copayments for pharmaceutical drugs and charge new enrollment fees, and

WHEREAS, the three largest veterans organizations firmly believe that veterans have earned the right to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care through their extraordinary sacrifices and service to this
nation; yet, each year funding levels must be determined through an
annual appropriations process that is fundamentally broken, and

WHEREAS, year after year, veterans have fought for sufficient funding
for VA health care and a realistic budget that reflects the rising
cost of health care and increasing need for medical services; despite these continued efforts, the cumulative effects of insufficient health care
funding have resulted in the rationing of medical care, and

WHEREAS, millions of veterans have made the VA their first choice for health care because of the quality of the care they receive; for many
others, the VA is their only health care lifeline; for the third year
in a row, the veterans health care system has had to struggle along
for months at the previous year's inadequate funding level because
Congress has failed to deliver a timely appropriations bill for VA,
and

WHEREAS, as a result, our nation's veterans have been denied timely access to necessary VA health care; the outlook isn't any better for the
thousands - and potentially tens of thousands - of men and women
returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and the global war on terror, when
you consider that they will need care from the VA for decades to
come, and

WHEREAS, the President's budget has proposals that are anathema to
many veterans-- in addition to the increased copayments, new
enrollment fees, and draconian reductions in long-term care programs,
it would force VA to shoulder even greater "management
efficiencies"-- a myth which many in this Congress continue to
believe; at this point, "management efficiencies" must be viewed as
what they truly are-- cuts in services to veterans, longer queues for
care, and fewer points of access for care than veterans have been
promised or deserve, and

WHEREAS, it is not enough to restore long-term care services, to
bolster mental health programs for our returning troops, or to better
ensure that veterans' claims can be administered on a timely basis;
it will not fill the deficits created from unspecified management
efficiencies; it will not be adequate to allow for growth in medical
inflation or veterans enrollment; it will not allow VA to make
critical investments in its aging medical infrastructure, and

WHEREAS, veterans' groups complained the money for the VA would be below the 10-to 14 percent rate of increase (recommended by a VA
official in a congressional hearing just last year) needed just to
keep up with current services; Rep. Chet Edwards (TX) noted there
were 300,000 more veterans placing demands on the system this year
compared to last year, and

WHEREAS, it currently takes about $1.4 billion in additional funds
each year just to maintain current VA services and the federal pay
raise; increasing the prescription co-payments from $7 to $15 will
place a financial strain on many veterans living on modest fixed
incomes; the proposed $250 enrollment fee is an insult to every
honorably discharged veteran asked to pay for an earned benefit; many
of these veterans are Medicare-eligible; these veterans' private
insurance companies already reimburse VA for treatment, but are prohibited from using their Medicare-funded eligibility in the VA system;

WHEREAS, according to the VA themselves, incredibly, the goal of the
initiatives just noted is to generate an additional $424 million and,
hopefully, drive 1.1 million veterans out of the VA health care
system; the White House's budget proposal also seeks to limit the
number of veterans in State veterans' homes that VA will pay per diem
for and repeal VA's currently mandated inpatient nursing home care
bed census; these long-term care initiatives will have a serious
economic impact on the State veterans' homes, and

WHEREAS, America's veterans deserve our eternal support and gratitude, and we should reflect this gratitude by providing adequate funds for the programs that serve them and help them readjust to their lives as civilians; the H.Con. Res. 95 budget resolution fails our Nation's heroes, and therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature hereby asks that
Congress add $3.2 billion to the federal budget for veterans' health
care, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to County
Executive William Steinhaus, Representative Sue Kelly, Representative
John Sweeney, Representative Maurice Hinchey, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Charles Schumer, and President George W. Bush.

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Supporting documentation:

5/19/05-- American Legion update report on veterans' health care:
http://capwiz.com/legion/issues/alert/?alertid=7621086&type=CU

5/5/05-- VFW update report on veterans' health care:
http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=2515

4/28/05-- Rep. Lane Evans statement re: truth on H.Con.Res. 95:
http://veterans.house.gov/democratic/floor/109th/4-28-05budget.htm

1/19/05-- Legion/VFW/DAV Coalition statement on veterans' health care:
http://capwiz.com/legion/issues/alert/?alertid=6831526&type=CU

11/11/04-- Tyner's Second Annual Candlelight Vigil for Veterans' Health Care:
http://www.hvan.org/calendar/cal_event.php?id=1954

10/3/04-- Washington Post: 9000 vets from Iraq/Afghanistan wait for benefits:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2946-2004Oct2?language=printer

7/2/04-- Former National Commander John Brieden letter in New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/02/opinion/L02VETS.html

5/28/04-- Act for Victory compendium re: veterans health care:
http://actforvictory.org/act.php/truth/articles/2006_wont_be_first_year_bush_cuts_support_for_veterans

American Legion: http://www.legion.org

Veterans of Foreign Wars: http://www.vfw.org

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[Tyner submitted this resolution below on November 5th last year-- it wasn't even allowed to be on the agenda for Committee Day.]

FORUM ON VETERANS HEALTH CARE HERE IN DUTCHESS COUNTY-- WE OWE THEM

WHEREAS, a number of veterans here in Dutchess County have described how they have been unable to access the benefits they have sacrificed for, and

WHEREAS, the Washington Post reported in October that there are well over 9000 veterans from the recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan still waiting for their claims with the Veterans Administration to be processed regarding service-connected disabilities, and

WHEREAS, the Independent Budget, put together by Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and AMVETS, calls for $1.3 billion more funding for veterans' health care than H.R. 5041 provided for, reported recently out of the House Appropriations Committee, and

WHEREAS, the disability benefits and health care systems that provide services
for about 5 million American veterans have been overloaded for decades and have a current backlog of more than 300,000 claims, and

WHEREAS, at the same time, the federal budget for 2005 calls for cutting
the Department of Veterans Affairs staff that handles benefits claims, and some veterans report long waits for benefits and confusing claims decisions, and

WHEREAS, we just had another Veterans Day here in Dutchess County-- it behooves us to truly find out how much of an issue this is for our county's own veterans, and therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature hold a forum in the evening so our county's veterans and residents can learn more on this issue and express their sentiments on it better, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to County Executive William Steinhaus.

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[Tyner submitted this resolution below last July 4th-- it wasn't even allowed to be on the agenda for Committee Day last year.]

STAND UP FOR OUR COUNTY'S VETERANS AND THEIR HEALTH CARE

WHEREAS, we should be taking care of those who have served honorably
in the armed forces of the United States, and

WHEREAS, members of Congress from both parties should pass a bill to
guarantee a level of financing that would meet the health care needs
of the more than seven million enrolled veterans and the countless
more who are denied access because of an unjust means test, and

WHEREAS, the mismatch between financing and the demand for services
has resulted in the rationing of health care for most eligible
veterans, and

WHEREAS, those currently enrolled are faced with delays in medical
appointments that exceed the Veterans Administration's own standards,
and.

WHEREAS, currently, Veterans Administration health care financing is
discretionary and must compete with other federal programs, and
therefore so be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature hereby call on
Congress to make the care of America's veterans a national priority
and put into place mandatory financing that would treat V.A. health
care like Social Security and Medicare, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to County
Executive William Steinhaus, Representative Sue Kelly, Representative
John Sweeney, Representative Maurice Hinchey, Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton, Senator Charles Schumer, and President George W. Bush.

------------------------------------------------------------

Supporting documentation:

Letter to the editor in New York Times July 2nd, 2004 from John Brieden,
National Commander, American Legion
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/02/opinion/L02VETS.html

To the Editor:

"Re: "Dogfights in the Senate" (editorial, June 25), about the
Congressional debate over veterans' health care financing:

Members of Congress from both parties should pass a bill to guarantee
a level of financing that would meet the health care needs of the
more than seven million enrolled veterans and the countless more who
are denied access because of an unjust means test.

The mismatch between financing and the demand for services has
resulted in the rationing of health care for most eligible veterans.
Those currently enrolled are faced with delays in medical
appointments that exceed the V.A.'s own standards.

Mandatory financing would treat V.A. health care like Social Security
and Medicare by making the care of America's veterans a national
priority. Currently, V.A. health care financing is discretionary and
must compete with other federal programs.

This is not about politics. It's about taking care of those who have
served honorably in the armed forces of the United States"


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Javier HunterBy:
LGTBIn:
Petition target:
President Bush, U.S. Congress, and Dutchess County Legislature

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