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Support Full Funding For VA Health Care: Put Your Money Where Your Promises Were

LongIsland.com

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WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs mission and motto is, "To care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan"; and

WHEREAS, President George Washington stated, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportionate to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country"; and

WHEREAS, whenever the United States military has ever been called upon to send forces into harms way, including sons and daughters of our great County of [Your County's Name here], in the State of [Your State's Name here], they have proudly answered the call; and

WHEREAS, we, as citizens of the United States of America, have promised our troops through military enlistment contracts comprehensive quality accessible healthcare for those veterans honorably discharged from The United States military past, present and future; and

WHEREAS, History has shown that many of the debilitating health effects of military conflict, may take years before they "show" themselves, and may even manifest themselves after the current limit for combat-related health care claims; and

WHEREAS, the legislative bodies of our government at all levels have recognized the importance of supporting those who serve our great country, legislation itself has fallen short of meeting the healthcare needs of our veterans. The current discretionary funding mechanisms for veterans healthcare is beset by numerous flaws preventing many veterans from receiving the quality healthcare they earned and deserve -- that they were promised; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, President George W. Bush created the Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery to our Nation's Veterans, charging it with identifying ways to better guarantee healthcare services to our veterans; services they courageously earn; and

WHEREAS, in their final report in 2003, the Task Force identified a disturbing trend, whereby funding requests from the Department of Veterans Affairs were not met in the Federal Budget; and as part of their findings included the need for the establishment of a mandatory funding mechanism to ensure all enrolled veterans would be provided healthcare benefits; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2006, the United States Senate voted down mandatory funding for veterans' healthcare services (Ref: Stabenow Amendment No. 3141), which would have insured mandatory funding for our veterans' healthcare needs (YEA 46 / NAY 54); and

WHEREAS, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in 2005 highlighted the lack of resources experienced by the Veterans Administration and its understaffed workforce as they attempt to process an increasing backlog of our veterans claims; and

WHEREAS, former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi has publicly stated the Department of Veterans Affairs has been struggling to provide promised healthcare services to the rapidly rising number of veterans requiring healthcare services; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that [Your County's Name here] County Board of Supervisors, fully supports mandatory federal funding for veterans' health care services; and be it

[OR] RESOLVED, as proud citizens of this great nation we fully support mandatory funding for veterans' healthcare services; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, the [Your County's Name here] County Board of Supervisors hereby urges the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate move promptly to ensure that these health care obligations to our veterans be recognized by introducing and passing legislation guaranteeing full mandatory funding of veterans' health care services, and that the president sign such legislation into law; and be it

[OR] FURTHER RESOLVED, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate move to ensure that these healthcare obligations to our veterans be recognized and legislation be introduced and passed for signing by the President of the United States of America to guarantee full mandatory funding of veterans' healthcare services; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be prepared and presented to the President of the United States and [Your County's Name here] County federal representative, members of the United States House of Representatives and members of the United States Senate, in the United States Congress.


Huh?

Whether you call it Direct Funding, Mandatory Funding, or Assured Funding, it is a program that has specific criteria and receives guaranteed appropriations. These programs include: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and Congressional salaries and benefits. This, as opposed to Discretionary programs which are funded annually at the discretion of Congress.

Nearly 90 percent of all federal health care spending is Direct; it has mandatory federal funding. Only Native American, active duty military (Department of Defense), and veterans (Department of Veterans Affairs), health care funding are Discretionary.

Want to know more - see my column: "Veterans Health Care: Call the Funding What You May, Just Do It" (

https://experts.longisland.com/veterans/archive_article.php?ExpArtID=2452

).

I Can Dream!

There are over 3,100 counties or county-equivalents in the US, an average of 62 counties per state. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states, while Louisiana uses the term "parish" and Alaska uses the word "borough."

In Nassau County we have over 140 separate communities.

If only more of us -- individually, as communities, and as counties -- would actively support military and military veteran health care issues.

As a Veterans Services Officer, or VSO, I know all too well the effects the lack of Direct Funding has had on the over-all health care provided our current active duty military and armed forces veterans.

Funny thing -- of late, perhaps you do... too.

As Others Already Have

Here are only a few of those that have so far let their voices be heard.

- Operation Firing For Effect (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/resolution.htm

)
- AFL-CIO Sheet Metal Workers, Local 137, NY (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/RES-FUNDMWLoc137-12207 _2_.pdf

)
- AFL-CIO Sheet Metal Workers, Local 46, NY (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/RES-FUNDMWLoc46.pdf

)
- American Fed. of Government Emp Local 3306 (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/AFGE3306-Res.pdf

)
- Brighton Township - New York State (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Brighton Mandatory Funding.pdf

)
- Chemung/Schuyler County Labor Assembly (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Chemumg-Schuyler.pdf

)
- City of Chicago, Illinois (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/ChicagoResolution.pdf

)
- Cook County Commission, Illinois (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/CookCntyRes.pdf

)
- Town of Irondequoit, New York (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/IrondequoitRes.pdf

)
- Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/RGVALF.pdf

)
- Major Contributor - Jack Davis (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Davis-Res.pdf

)
- Monroe County - New York (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Monroe Cty.pdf

)
- NY State Sheet Metal Workers Council (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/RES-FUNDMW-NYSCOUNCIL1-22-07.pdf

)
- State of Oregon-Governor Kulongoski (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Theodore R Kuloogoski Governor.pdf

)
- Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/RBTsignedRES.pdf

)
- Senator Charles Schumer - New York (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/schumer.pdf

)
- Schulze Family - In Memory of Jonathan Schulze USMC (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Schulze.pdf

)
- Steuben/Livingston County Labor Council (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/Steuban-Livingston.pdf

)
- Town of Hamlin, New York (

http://www.offe2008.com/public_html/Hamlin.pdf

)
- Veterans for Constitutional Law (

http://www.offe2008.com/RESOLUTIONS/VetsforConstitution.pdf

)

P.S.

It's been one year and 55 columns. Thanks for allowing me into your thoughts these past 52 weeks. And here's hoping, to paraphrase what was once said on "L.A. Law,"

May the worst of your next 52, be better than the best of the last!

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt