Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

VA Cutbacks ; A Step in the Wrong Direction

Winter 2003

In rejection of the cessation of enrollment for Category 8 veterans, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. expressed deep concern that, under the guise of a lack of funding from the Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs has taken the easy way by halting the health care enrollment of an expected 164,000 additional veterans. There must be recognition that this VA decision will augur further cutbacks, possibly even dramatic ones. We went through this before when the first Bush Administration had Secretary Derwinski propose general and non-veterans use of VA hospitals. While this decision by the VA is presented as a cost savings, as was the Five Year moratorium in VA Budget indexing, it clearly affects the opportunities for health care for a large number of veterans who entered military service believing health care services would be there for them. National Commander, Daniel Weiss, said, "This is no time to cut them off." National Commander Weiss stated "the fault lies with both the Congress and the Administration which has failed to fully fund the VA. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not want to exclude any veteran from care. However, given the funding shortfall, it is not right to allow more enrollments in the lowest category when, in fact, they would have to wait six months or more to be seen for care." NC Weiss said the entire thing is ridiculous when Congress has approved a 100 billion to bail out insurance companies. Two billion more for the VA would solve this problem, and make up in part for the recent two-year moratorium in funding for the VA.


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