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History, Geography, & Military Discuss Many veterans would suffer under Republican health-care plan at the Political Forums; Many veterans would suffer under Republican health-care plan By Joe Davidson June 30, 2017 As Republicans strive mightily — and ...

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Old 06-30-2017, 08:28 AM
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Default Many veterans would suffer under Republican health-care plan

Many veterans would suffer under Republican health-care plan

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By Joe Davidson
June 30, 2017

As Republicans strive mightily — and perversely — for a health-care system that would increase the uninsured by 22 million people, they should ponder the impact on a particularly deserving group — veterans. It’s not unexpected that heartless GOP plans would be hard on the vulnerable, but do they realize that includes many who continue to suffer from their service? These are people largely supportive of Republicans, including President Trump, who had the insight to call the House plan “mean.” Republicans honor veterans, but you can’t tell it by their current health-care proposals. The GOP plans do not directly affect the Veterans Affairs Department’s extensive system of health services. About 7 million vets, however, get their care outside of VA services. After the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, kicked in, the number of vets without insurance dropped by almost 40 percent, according to Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and other committee members. Republicans would reverse that trend. Tester and his Democratic colleagues said the Senate bill could:
  • Result in nearly 1.75 million disabled and low-income veterans losing Medicaid coverage
  • Impose a tax on 600,000 veterans, forcing them to pay up to five times more for health insurance
  • Cause more than 5 million veterans difficulty in finding services at rural hospitals
  • Generate increased mental health-care fees for the many veterans who suffer post-traumatic stress from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam
  • Result in up to 7 million veterans losing tax credits to help pay for medical care
  • Cause about 7 percent of veterans to lose access to care for opioid or other substance abuse problems

The Republican committee chairman and the Trump administration had the chance to refute the data presented by the Democrats, but they did not. In five recent polls, the approval ratings for the Republican health-care plan ranged from a miserable 16 percent to a pitiful 30 percent, sometimes with a significant percentage undecided. “This plan, written in secret, will devastate thousands of elderly, disabled and rural veterans who go outside of the VA for all or some of their health care,” Tester said. “This plan guts Medicaid, which provides lifesaving treatment, mental-health care and access to a health-care provider for thousands of folks who have bravely served this nation. I will be working hard to make sure that any health- care law honors our promises to our veterans, but this plan doesn’t even come close.”
Also, rural hospitals that serve many former servicemen are going to take a beating (with many closing) under the GOP 'healthcare' plans due to the huge cuts to the Medicaid program.

Related: AMVETS Deeply Concerned by President’s Proposed Cuts to Veteran Benefits

Poll shows little support for Senate GOP health bill, even among Republicans

The Republican healthcare bill is the least popular major bill in decades
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