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Friday, March 20, 2009

Vets win on insurance, for now...

American Legion praises White House change in plan

President Obama has dropped a plan to bill private insurance companies for the treatment of veterans with service-connected disabilities and injuries. American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein applauded the move.

"We are glad that President Obama listened to the strong objections raised by The American Legion and veterans everywhere about this unfair plan," Rehbein said. "We thank the administration for its proposed increase in the VA budget. We are always available to assist, by providing guidance to ensure a veterans health-care system that is worthy of the heroes that use it."

After a March 18 meeting with the Legion and other veterans groups, the White House announced it would no longer consider billing insurance companies or veterans for treatment of their service-connected disabilities.

"Although we disagreed with the proposal, additional revenue streams are needed by VA," Rehbein said. "I strongly encourage Congress and the administration to allow VA to begin billing Medicare for the treatment of veterans who qualify for the program. They paid into Medicare for their entire working careers, and should be able to use it in the medical system that was built specifically for them."

The White House plan to bill private insurance companies for veterans' service-connected health care led to a fire storm of opposition. Rehbein's editorial opposing the move appeared in the March 18 Wall Street Journal.

The same day, Legion spokesman Peter Gaytan appeared on Fox News and explained why the plan would not serve veterans' best interests.

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