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Sat Jul 1, 2017, 06:43 AM

Many veterans would suffer under Republican health-care plan

As Republicans strive mightily ó and perversely ó for a health-care system that would increase the uninsured by 22 million people, they should ponder the impact on a particularly deserving group ó veterans.

Itís not unexpected that heartless GOP plans would be hard on the vulnerable, but do they realize that includes many who continue to suffer from their service?

These are people largely supportive of Republicans, including President Trump, who had the insight to call the House plan ďmean.Ē

Republicans honor veterans, but you canít tell it by their current health-care proposals.

The GOP plans do not directly affect the Veterans Affairs Departmentís extensive system of health services. About 7 million vets, however, get their care outside of VA services. After the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, kicked in, the number of vets without insurance dropped by almost 40 percent, according to Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veteransí Affairs Committee, and other committee members.

Republicans would reverse that trend. Tester and his Democratic colleagues said the Senate bill could:

Result in nearly 1.75 million disabled and low-income veterans losing Medicaid coverage
Impose a tax on 600,000 veterans, forcing them to pay up to five times more for health insurance
Cause more than 5 million veterans difficulty in finding services at rural hospitals
Generate increased mental health-care fees for the many veterans who suffer post-traumatic stress from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam
Result in up to 7 million veterans losing tax credits to help pay for medical care
Cause about 7 percent of veterans to lose access to care for opioid or other substance abuse problems.


Exit polls indicate 60 percent of those who served in the military supported Trumpís election, about the same portion of veterans who voted for Republican House candidates in 2014. Now this unpopularly elected president is working to drum up support for the very unpopular Republican proposals.


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