GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, Dr. No, Stands In The Way Of Health Care For Veterans
Isn’t it the Republicans who tell us they love the troops more than us anti-American liberals? But it’s GOP Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, also a physician, who is obstructing a health care plan for veterans. The legislation, which has bi-partisan approval (with the exception of Coburn), would provide long-term home health care for the wounded.
The urgently needed legislation consolidates more than a dozen improvements in veterans’ health care — most notably a new assistance program for family members who wind up providing lifelong home nursing to severely disabled veterans. These vital caregivers — who sacrifice careers and put huge strains on their own mental health — assume an obligation “that ultimately belongs to the government,” Senator Daniel Akaka, the bill’s chief sponsor, properly notes.
The measure also expands benefits for women veterans who suffered sexual trauma on duty, extends veterans’ care in rural areas, tightens quality control at V.A. hospitals, and ensures that catastrophically disabled veterans will not be charged for emergency services in community hospitals.
The omnibus legislation drew unanimous committee approval. But Senator Coburn objected to quick floor passage, demanding that the five-year, $3.7 billion cost be offset with immediate budget cuts. The senator’s argument rings hollow in the face of veterans’ suffering and the world of deficit budgeting brought on by his party’s tax cuts and zealous war investments.
But do they worry about budgets and costs when it comes time to send our treasure off to war?Click here for reuse options!
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