With Friends Like These

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Barack and Michelle Obama think very highly of the United States Military. Very. Highly. This is how highly they regard our servicemen and women:

The First Lady has vowed to be an advocate for the military, promising them that they have a "friend in the White House". Just last week, she paid a visit to Ft. Bragg, meeting with military families and touring the base. Her message: "Military families bear a very heavy burden, and again, they do it without complaint," Obama said. "But as a nation, we need to find ways to lighten their load."

This is also how highly the Obamas think of the military: At a meeting yesterday at the Department of Veterans Affairs, PHBO said: "I think about my grandfather whenever I have the privilege of meeting the young men and women who serve in our military today. They are our best and brightest, and they're our bravest -- enlisting in a time of war; enduring tour after tour of duty; serving with honor under the most difficult circumstances; and making sacrifices that many of us cannot begin to imagine. The same can be said of their families. As my wife, Michelle, has seen firsthand during visits to military bases across this country, we don't just deploy our troops in a time of war -- we deploy their families, too."

To this end, PHBO, together with new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, want to "transform the Department of Veterans Affairs for the 21st century". Indeed, the plan is to increase the budget for the Department by over $25 billion (pdf). These funds will be used to expand the VA health care program so that it can serve an additional 500,000 veterans by 2013; to implement a GI Bill for the 21st century; to provide better health care; and to dramatically improve services related to mental health and injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The funds will also be used for technology that will ease the transition from active duty to home for our nation's service members.

This is all excellent news. If you're not convinced yet just how highly PHBO and the First Lady value the military, I offer you this:

His administration is considering a proposal to require a veteran's private insurance to reimburse the VA for treatment of combat related injuries. Yes, you read that right. PHBO wants servicemen injured in defense of their country to have their own insurance reimburse any care provided by the 21st century VA.

Now, I'm not going to get into how disgraceful a betrayal this is to the men and women who put their lives on the line or how this violates the most sacred of trusts. Nor am I going to get into how we can provide full medical coverage to illegal aliens or how we can find 900 million to send to Hamas...er, I mean "Palestine" but we can't take care of our wounded servicemen. Really. Not getting into it.

Instead, I wonder about the financial aspects of this proposal. I don't know about the rest of you, but my insurance company specializes in finding ways to get out of paying for the care I'm supposed to get. Between deductibles, co-pays, riders and the all inclusive "pre-existing condition", how much will a vet's insurance really cover? And what happens to the portion they decide isn't covered? Even when an insurance company does pay, there's a maximum amount of coverage in a calendar year. What happens to the vet and their family after coverage is exhausted? For those discharged vets entering the workforce or reservists returning to work, how will employers deal with this situation? On the bright side, the improved treatment for PTSD will come in handy when vets face mounting medical debts.

I wonder if PHBO has thought about any of this. I also wonder if Michelle knows about this. I mean, did Barack not get the memo that she is BFF with the military?

Now, for those of you suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), before you start with "yeah, but Bush...", pay attention: Bush. Is. Not. The. President. STFU.

For the rest of you, if you think this is a disgrace...oh wait, I said I wasn't going to get into that...anyway, I urge you to write your representatives and senators and tell them to vote against any such proposal making its way to the Hill. I am blessed in this regard. Hailing from Massachusetts, my senators are the "Lion of the Senate" himself, Ted Kennedy and that "champion of vets everywhere" John Kerry. I am sure they will work tirelessly to defeat this proposal. What? You think THEY want to piss off Michelle?

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