Gulf War Vets Home Page
Today's Air Force Times (and possibly, the Army and Navy Times as well), dated June 27th, 2005, page 16,
has a story by Rick Maze which is not yet on the web. It's headline reads "Vets' groups at odds with insurance plans."
The substance of the story is as follows:
At recent hearings involving the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee, some new "disability insurance"
is being conjured by the government that is being opposed - rightfully, by two VSOs to date, the DAV and
PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America). Amazingly, all the big VSOs....MOAA, NAUS, TREA, VFW, ROA and others are absent from any reference in the story. Why, I don't know...but hopefully some of you will find out
ASAP and get some people mobilized to oppose Congress. Hopefully, if these organizations do not know about this legislation, they will soon.
The essence of this new insurance concept, as generally described in the 1/2 page article, is as follows:
a. Create disability insurance that is to be sold to healthy, active duty personnel.
b. This insurance allegedly will be designed to equate specific premiums with specific,
disabling service connected problems, as explained in the article.
c. G.I.'s will be paying for their own disability insurance while they are healthy.
d. This insurance applies to disabling injuries incurred in the line of duty, i.e., ON THE JOB!
e. Cited in the article is a statement by Rep. Renzi (R-AZ) who is quoted as saying, "Congress should consider letting families pay for the traumatic injury insurance if a service member declines coverage." (My comment:
Oh I get it. The service member declines because he has to buy food and clothing for his children, thus, his parents or
siblings should fork over the funds and take from their savings rather than the USG, responsible for sending the troop into combat.)
According to the article by Rick Maze, Congress is hoping to have legislation passed this year!
a. Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, Sec. Rumsfeld and his staff have continuously articulated
their chagrin for having to appropriate funds to help military retirees and disabled veterans. We've seen many articles targeting MRs and disabled veterans, but now the target is subtlety changing to actually include the active duty! Imagine being a soldier today, ordered into combat and required to pay for your own disability combat insurance! Wow, what a
deal! And we wonder why recuriting numbers are declining.
b. It is clear that Sec. Rumsfeld and his people are seeking "imaginative" ways of relieving themselves of their responsibilities with respect to disabled personnel. In other words, if someone gets injured in the line of duty, DOD doesn't want the responsibility to care for those men and women. So......they are seeking a new and innovate way
for men and women to pay for their own care, even when hurt in combat!
c. In light of the heavy costs Taxpayers are footing to pay for the "War on Terrorism," it is obvious that Uncle Sam must find new and innovative ways to acquire the funds to pay the bills. Reducing its' responsibilities to care for
wounded or disabled personnel by forcing them to have their own insurance sounds fairly innovative to me.
However, this is still on "the drawing board," thus, we must not let the DOD and others slip this legislation through Congress with their buddies on the Hill. Why now has our government decided it is not the responsibility of the Government to care for wounded or disabled military personnel.
This will apparently apply to everyone on active duty. Who in his or her right mind wouldn't purchase
"disability insurance" nowadays since everyone in the service is subject to deployment (other than a small percentage of personnel).
NOTE: The Air Force Times story does not have a bill number on this specific legislation (maybe a
stand alone bill, maybe an amendment to an existing bill), nor have I been able to locate it in the Thomas Locator on the web. There is a bill on the Hill pertaining to the topic however, and it is H.R. 1618 entitled
Wounded Warrior Service members Group Disability Insurance Act of 2005 (Introduced in the House)
sponsored by the same, Rep Renzi, R-AZ. The bill was dropped in April and has 5 co-sponsors.
There are a couple of congressmen and one House Committee mentioned in the article, so you might wish
to start with them to get more details.
a. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida
324 Cannon HOB
Washington, Washington DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4136
Fax: (202) 225-3414
Ft. Walton Beach Office
348 S.W. Miracle Strip Parkway, Suite 24
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
4300 Bayou Blvd., Suite 12
Pensacola, Florida 32503
Toll Free Phone Number to District Office
b. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Arizona
Phone - (202) 225-2315 Fax - (202) 226-9739
c. House Veterans Affair Subcommittee (on Disability Assistance)
Here is the final paragraph of the article, quoted
" (If that issue can be resolved-[from previous paragraph]), lawmakers said they also face questions
about exactly what disabilities should be covered, and for how much. Congress left those decisions to the
Pentagon, with general guidance that it would be limited to traumatic injuries incurred in combat, with different
dollar amounts set for various disabilities."
This bill must be followed-up on. As generally described in the AF Times article, this bill sounds
more like " a bill of goods," then meaningful legislation for the troops. We need more info, and
this email is an alert notice that we acquire that information.
Thanks to Ed Lawton (USAF - ret.) for sending!!