As all eyes are focused on the unfolding war against Iraq, it is appropriate to pause and reflect on the past service and sacrifices of America’s veterans. But, sadly, recent Bush Administration attempts to deny Veteran’s Administration (VA) medical care to more than 160,000 aging veterans has gone largely unnoticed by veterans or the general public.
On January 17th of this year, the Bush Administration began the process of excluding more than 160,000 veterans from lengthy waiting lists for VA hospitalization and care. The Administration is also mounting a costly legal push to abrogate the historic commitment of lifetime VA healthcare benefits for veterans. These recent Bush attempts to gut the VA health care system are but a recent insult to America’s veterans; VA services have been under political assault for the past two decades, as growing numbers of retired World War Two, Korean War, and now some Vietnam War veterans seek treatment.
Writing in his Winter, 2003, newsletter, Vermont Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders has asked his constituents to “Stand Up for Veterans.” Sanders asks, “Why is the President not supporting the needs of our veterans....? The Administration claims that it’s a question of money. They say they just can’t afford it. If that’s the case, why are they providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of our population...? We should not be giving tax breaks to millionaires, and then telling veterans... there are no funds available for their needs.” For more useful information on this and other critical issues please visit the web page of Representative Sanders at: www.bernie.house.gov