24 September 2013

C-123 Veterans' Response to Secretary Principi - Wall Street Journal, August 28

 (this is our Association's response to former VA Secretary Anthony Principi's Wall Street Journal editorial, in which he argued for greater restrictions on veterans disability claims)
C-123 Veterans' Response to Secretary Principi:

Mr. Principi's suggestion that one group of veterans (in his editorial, Vietnam veterans) should step away from the VA's benefits application line as the solution to make room for another, more current group of veterans is ridiculous. The solution instead is to move that application line along faster, easier and less expensively than the VA does today. The
solution most definitely is NOT to deny any one group of veterans their earned benefits in favor of another group equally worthy.

Secretary Principi is correct that that veterans may turn to the VA for what could be diseases of age, but as the IOM and studies by researchers like Dr. Mark Garzotto MD (VA Portland OR) continue to show, diseases like highly aggressive prostate cancer are directly linked to doubling the rate among Agent Orange-exposed veterans as they age....clearly a situation deserving of VA attention regardless of a veteran's age when care becomes needed. And there are other similar situations surfacing only in later life.
Very fortunately, the VA and the Department of Defense have recently overhauled the separation of troops who are ill or injured, arranging their disability ratings before separation and also packaging essential care such as years of extended medical care and a wonderfully conceived "wounded warrior" program. Thus, troops leaving active duty don't face the desperate years of VA claims process addressed by the Secretary's article.
The Secretary shows yet another example of the VA mindset determined to resolve budget and other issues on the back of the veterans who earned these protections the hard way..not by being in the line, but by being On The Line!
------Wes Carter

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