The leader of The American Legion, Commander David K. Rehbein, met with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to bill private insurance companies for service-connected disabilities and injuries suffered by military veterans. Commander Rehbein said he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after speaking with the president.
Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran’s condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits.
“I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted,” said Commander Rehbein, “is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the President’s financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near future.
This is outrageous. It’s just another example of Obama’s priorities. He believes the government has an obligation to provide free health care to millions of Americans who choose not to purchase insurance, yet he doesn’t believe the government has an obligation to cover medical costs of veterans injured in service to our nation.
Anyone with experience in the workers’ compensation insurance industry knows that an injured worker isn’t responsible for treatment connected to work related injuries and neither is his or her private health insurance company. If a medical provider bills a private health insurer for medical treatment connected to a work injury the private insurer has a right to reimbursement.The employer and it’s insurance carrier are liable. A serious workers’ compensation claim can’t be settled without the permission of the United States government (for which they make the employers and carriers jump through hoops). The reason is that Medicare and Medicaid shouldn’t be on the hook for work related injuries. This is as it should be.
Apparently, Obama doesn’t want the government to practice what it preaches. Shouldn’t the government, who sends our troops into harm’s way, be held to the same standard as private employers? If members of the US military were big Democratic party supporters it’s doubtful Obama would have made such a proposal.
This is a slap in the face to the men and women who serve our nation. Covering deadbeats on the backs of American veterans is certainly not “change we can believe in!”
H/T Hot Air