Disabled America Veterans issued the following this week:
Statement of Garry J. Augustine, DAV Washington Executive Director
appreciate the passion and focus of Mr. Trump to improve the health and
well-being of America’s veterans and agree with some elements of his
plan. However, while his proposal to give every veteran a card to
purchase private sector medical care may be well-intentioned, it would
be disastrous for the men and women who served.
Encouraging all veterans to seek care in the private sector which
lacks the expertise to treat military and combat injuries and illnesses,
and which does not typically provide integrated or coordinated care,
would lead to worse health outcomes for many veterans.
In addition, economists estimate such a plan would be at least two to
three times more expensive than the current VA health care budget;
between $1 – $2 trillion dollars more in the first ten years. This
proposal would bust the federal budget, bankrupt the VA health care
system and could lead to significant new costs on veterans for care they
have already paid for with their blood, sweat and sacrifice.
Just last week, a Congressionally-created Commission rejected the
idea of giving veterans a plastic card to buy private sector care,
citing both the enormous costs as well as a decline in the quality of
care. Instead, the Commission recommended building upon the high
quality of care provided by the VA in order to create integrated
networks utilizing community providers to expand access for veterans.
DAV, other veterans organizations, many veterans leaders in Congress,
the VA and now the Commission have all come to the same conclusion: the
best way to expand access to high-quality, veteran-focused care is by
integrating community providers into networks coordinated by VA, not by
sending more veterans out into the private sector.
We hope to have the opportunity to discuss our concerns with Mr.
Trump in order to find common ground on how best to fulfill the promises
to the men and women who served. We look forward to working with the
next President and Congress to strengthen, reform and sustain the VA
health care system for the millions of veterans who choose and rely on
VA for their care, particularly those injured and ill from their