Veterans need health care
This past Memorial Day, we honored the many service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and all those who have served or are currently serving. Honoring veterans includes making sure they have all of the resources and help they need when they return home.
When most Americans think of veterans’ health care, they think about the VA. But many veterans either do not meet VA eligibility requirements or have health needs that the VA does not entirely cover. About 1 in 10 veterans use Medicaid as their primary source of health care, and many more use Medicaid to supplement the care they receive through the VA. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided funding for states to expand Medicaid, drastically improving healthcare for these veterans.
However, this can’t be taken for granted. Health care repeal attempts have sought to cut Medicaid funding by nearly $1 trillion, threatening care for nearly 77 million Americans who rely on the program, including 2 million veterans.
Many veterans return from service with extensive physical and mental health care needs that lead to costly medical bills, in large part because of what they sacrificed for our country. Because of the ACA, veterans are no longer denied coverage for their pre-existing conditions or charged for services that treat issues like post-traumatic stress disorder.
As a nation, we pride ourselves on how we treat our veterans, and honoring those who serve has long been a point of bipartisan agreement. Over the past year, health care repeal has threatened to betray nearly 2 million veterans who have risked their lives for this country. We must honor their service and sacrifice by working to improve our health care system so all our veterans have access to quality, affordable health care.
—Lyle Shannon, Vietnam Veteran, Fairfield