If the Obama administration wanted to come up with the most politically offensive policy it could imagine, within the bounds of reason and reality, what elements would it have to include? Insulting veterans and looking like cheapskates in a time when massive government outlays to private industry would certainly help it along. Comes now Hero of the Anti-War Left, retired General Eric Shinseki, who wants to save a few bucks at the Veterans Administration by making men and women injured in the service of our country pay for their care:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance. …
No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.
The groups also cited an increase in “third-party collections” estimated in the 2010 budget proposal — something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.
Asked about the proposal, Shinseki said it was under “consideration.”
“A final decision hasn’t been made yet,” he said.
Let’s see. The same administration that wants to give tens of billions of dollars to GM, Citigroup, AIG, and a host of other banks and manufacturers wants men and women injured in service to their country to pay for the medical care that arises from these injuries? In what universe does Shinseki and the Obama administration live, anyway?
And people used to complain that Bush didn’t care enough about veteran care – even though he increased the VA budget by 56% from 2001 to 2008. Bush never offered the notion that the nation should shirk its duty to those who gave their health for the defense of America, especially not in the same week in which his administration signed a record omnibus bill with 8,000 pork items in it. In fact, I don’t think any administration has ever signaled such a policy, mostly because previous administrations weren’t dumb enough to try it, let alone crass enough to consider it an area to save a little cash.
Obama said he wanted to bring bipartisanship to Washington, and he may succeed here — by annoying both Democrats and Republicans. Patty Murray (D-WA) declared that any such suggestion would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate. Richard Burr (R-NC) told Shinseki not to count on that revenue stream. If Hope and Change means dunning wounded warriors, Capitol Hill will say thanks, but no thanks, in as united a voice as one can imagine these days.
It’s just another incompetent moment in an administration trying to set a record for them.