Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Paul Sullivan: Beware veterans and your families: The ax is lifted …

Paul Sullivan: Beware veterans and your families: The ax is lifted …
Looking to the future, the impetus for early intervention is evident. If we recognize the excess burden of medical illness in veterans with PTSD who have recently returned from active service and we address their health care needs today, the elderly veterans of tomorrow may enjoy better health and quality of life.
VCS believes we must learn from the past so we do not repeat mistakes.
VCS endorses the Vietnam Veterans of America, when they remind us that, “Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another.”

This is why Veterans for Common Sense fully endorses the proposal by Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz to create a Trust Fund to make sure our veterans receive the healthcare and benefits they earned.

As a non-profit advocacy organization, VCS uses the Freedom of Information Act to obtain data from DoD and VA to monitor and publicize the needs of our veterans.
VCS was honored to provide our data to Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz for their book, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (2008).
In their ground-breaking work on the subject of the cost of war,
Bilmes and Stiglitz called for the creation of “A Veterans Benefit Trust Fund . . . so that veterans’ health and disability entitlements are fully funded as obligations occur.”
In their book, the experts stated:

There are always pressures to cut unfunded entitlements. So, when new military recruits are hired, the money required to fund future health care and disability benefits should be set aside (“lockboxed”) in a new Veterans Benefit Trust Fund. We require private employers to do this; we should require the armed forces to do it as well

The most painful lesson for Gulf War veterans has been the continuing lack of a national plan to care for our returning veterans, starting in 1991. The brutal irony today is the fact the Agent Orange Act of 1991 was enacted by Congress shortly after the Gulf War began, nearly 25 years after the Vietnam War began. On October 30, 2010, VA is set to finally begin, in earnest, providing additional health care and disability benefits to seriously ill Vietnam War veterans due to exposure to Agent Orange.

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