White House to vets: VA health care safe from reform
In a last-minute effort to calm the nerves of skeptical military veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday night that its health care system would remain untouched by ongoing reform efforts.
"The secretary of veterans affairs would continue to maintain sole authority over the system and for enhancing the quality and access for all eligible veterans," VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth wrote on the White House blog Thursday night. The Pentagon's TRICARE program would also continue as normal, she said.
"Those who are covered by TRICARE would meet the shared responsibility requirement for individuals to have insurance, thereby exempting such members of the uniformed services and dependents from being assessed any sort of penalty," Duckworth wrote.
The White House and Congressional Democrats have fought back for months against claims by Republicans -- most notably Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) during his election campaign -- that current health-care legislation would scale back or cut the military health care program. Such claims are a big concern, especially for elderly vets.
In her blog post Duckworth said VA frequently hears from veterans concerned about the fate of the VA health-care system. Indeed The Eye watched her field such questions during an October meeting with older veterans in Virginia.
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| March 19, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Health Care
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