As good conservatives, we all know that we’re supposed to be grateful to our service men and women. Maybe you’ve shaken some hands and expressed your appreciation at a veterans day service, or donated to a project that is helpful for veterans. And I’m not saying that those things shouldn’t be done, most assuredly they should. However, many of us probably cringe and avert our eyes when we see what’s going on in our veterans hospitals across the country. We think that it’s probably not related to their service when we see someone holding a cardboard sign saying that they’re a veteran in need of help, because if we admit that fighting for our freedom put them there, then we have the responsibility to do something about it.
Thankfully, President Trump isn’t looking away, he’s made a plan to deal with the issue of veterans affairs head on. And in his signature style, he’s going to do it with speed and urgency. This isn’t a moment too soon as the reports continue to stream in about the terrible treatment in veterans hospitals, mostly due to red tape and understaffing and even corruption.
In an effort to show his appreciation and support of our service men and women, President Trump recently met this service man who represents over a million wounded service men and women as the National Commander of the DAV.
In 1997, I contracted a rare bacterial infection during my service in the Coast Guard which resulted in the loss of my arms and legs as well as several of my internal organs. At the time, I felt my life was over and I couldn’t imagine finding purpose again.
I never could have dreamed that two decades later, the President of the United States would be shaking my hand – or hook, as it so happens – as I represented more than 1.3 million other seriously injured and ill veterans as the National Commander of DAV (Disabled American Veterans).
I was proud to represent DAV as President Trump recently authorized the creation of the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
I was even more proud to have my wife, Yvonne, standing by my side.
As a quadruple amputee, a lot of people ask about and thank me for my service. No one ever stops to thank my wife for the decades of service she’s selflessly given as my caregiver.
Without Yvonne’s assistance, I’m not able to get out of bed on my own let alone travel to Washington, D.C. to shake hands with our Commander in Chief.
Yvonne and the millions of spouses, parents and other family caregivers who serve by taking care of seriously disabled veterans are truly America’s unsung heroes, deserving of recognition and support. Unfortunately, current policies restrict benefits through VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers only to veterans injured after September 11, 2001.
There are currently three pieces of pending legislation that would, if enacted, expand those caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras. Bills like these have floated through many sessions of Congress without action, largely due to cost concerns. And it’s true, providing comprehensive caregiver support to all veterans who need it would incur a cost, but far less than what it costs to provide nursing home or other institutional care.
According to a VA report to Congress, the average cost per veteran per year in the comprehensive program is $36,770. To compare, VA annually spends $332,756 on average per veteran in a VA nursing home, $88,571 in a community nursing home and $45,085 in VA per diem payments in a State Veterans Home. Allowing veterans the choice to remain at home also enhances their quality of life, and it’s been shown that family caregivers reduce overall health care costs by minimizing medical complications and lowering the number of hospital admissions.
Clearly, expanding eligibility for these benefits to veterans of all eras isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
When President Trump shook my hand, I hope it served as a reminder that we severely disabled veterans don’t do this alone. There is almost always a dedicated caregiver at our side inspiring us, motivating us and helping us achieve the best life possible. It’s time we thank and honor them properly by giving them the support they deserve.
I appreciate the effort that he’s made to show that the numbers work out, in the taxpayer’s favor to pass these pieces of legislation, but even if it were more expensive, don’t we still owe it to our wounded warriors to do whatever is best for them? I hope your answer was a resounding “yes.” The last few Presidental terms had eligible and even the normally apt military-age young adults running in the other direction with Obama at the helm. Thankfully, we now have a Commander in Chief for our military that those wearing the uniform can be confident in. He may well ask them to see some action, but it’s good to know that he’ll take good care of them when they get back home.
(Source: Independent Journal Review)
FOLLOW us on Facebook at Freedom Daily!