Veterans Warn Debt Ceiling War Could Cut Medical Costs ⋆ Michigan Advance

Imminent debt defaults could deprive millions of veterans, including those wounded on the battlefield, of outpatient care as the country prepares to commemorate U.S. servicemen who died in service. There is

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said if the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is not raised by June 5, just days after Monday’s Memorial Day, the nation will run out of money and will face debt for the first time in history. warned of default.

Negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, Calif.) and President Joe Biden have yet to reach an agreement, but whatever the outcome, there are concerns that veterans’ health care will be adversely affected. rising.

Matt Burr, Former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant | Photo Courtesy

Matt Burr is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant from Traverse City who served in Iraq twice before retiring from the Marine Corps in 2018. Served in Afghanistan.

“We get calls every day from brothers and sisters who are struggling to serve and are not getting the care they need. “I have had close friends commit suicide because they didn’t get the care they needed. is affecting the lives of patriots and heroes who have served their country.”

New report published by protect our carea nonprofit advocating for accessible and affordable health care nationwide, says what it amounts to. 22% cut For the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) under the House Republican proposal, it would mean 30 million fewer outpatient visits for veterans nationwide.

“This means that 187,700 veterans in Michigan will miss outpatient visits and potentially miss appointments for care such as physicals, mental health services and substance disorder treatment,” he said. report.

Republicans, along with leaders such as Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.), have argued that their plan does not specifically cut back on veterans’ service. Blame “Lie” Democrats. Note The Republican House bill does not mention spending cuts for veterans, but it does not exempt them from spending cuts, making it unlikely that the Democratic-led U.S. Senate will approve veterans, he said.

Talks took place this week, but House Republicans still have not agreed to raise the debt ceiling, and Congress has postponed For Memorial Day weekend.

The potential for veteran benefits to come to a brink in the course of debt ceiling negotiations remains a concern for veterans like Mr. Barr.

“I was blown up in Iraq,” he said. Michigan Advance. “I’ve had some blast damage, so I’m dealing with a traumatic brain injury.” [traumatic brain injury]PTSD [Post-traumatic stress disorder]. Most people who fight in the kind of war we fought, or any kind of war, will have her PTSD. ”

Barr says he currently has to wait six months to get a mental health appointment and then drive from Traverse City to a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Ann Arbor to get a specialist treatment appointment. said he had to.

If the government were to default, or if a deal to avoid a default resulted in a drastic cut in veterans’ spending, the impact would be immediate for him and his fellow veterans, he said. .

In addition to reducing access to outpatients, Protect Our Care said the veterans’ funding cut proposals have resulted in a backlog of 134,000 claims across the nation, and much-needed clinics and clinics. Up to $565 million would be cut in hospital renovations, which would have a significant impact on Michigan’s finances, he said. There are about 582,000 veterans.

“Michigan accounts for more than 2 percent of veterans’ healthcare costs and ranks among the top 15 states for total veterans, and Michigan veterans are expected to lose a lot from Republican funding cuts. ‘ said the report.

Barr said elected officials must match their words with their deeds when honoring their contributions to veterans.

“Republicans in Congress who claim to support us, like Rep. Jack Bergman (R, Watersmeet) here in Northern Michigan who voted to cut healthcare services, are a slap in the face for veterans. It is,” he said. “That’s the result we’re talking about here. They’re going to be affected. They’re going to struggle even more than they do now.”

Bergman did not respond to a request for comment. Bergman, along with other House Republicans, is a firm believer. controversial He said the proposed plan would introduce a 22% reduction in the VA, instead “just bringing the topline of discretionary spending in FY24 back to FY22 levels.”

With default less than a week away, US House jets off for vacation

however, analysis The Leftist Center for Budgetary Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that limiting spending to FY22 levels could lead to an average reduction of 24% across non-defense programs, depending on which programs are prioritized.

“If the defense and veterans’ health care cuts are not spared as House Republicans look to deliver on their promises, the rest of the non-defense sectors will face deep cuts, but there are people across the country. It contains important programs on which our communities and communities depend.” analysis.

The CBPP said such a scenario would threaten the operations of Medicare and Social Security, but said Biden and Congressional Democrats disagree. So whether a deal is reached or the country commits a historic default, the VA program could suffer.

Mr Barr said that was unacceptable.

“Caring for veterans should not be a partisan issue,” he says. “This is America’s promise, and we must keep it. You know, we’re not talking about money anymore. We’re talking about fighting honorably and defending our country.” It’s about the lives of our brothers and sisters who are willing to serve and risk everything for this country and for us, so we need to do everything we can to take care of them.”

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