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home : opinions : letters to the editor August 17, 2017

6/17/2017 7:29:00 AM
Proposed VA cuts target disabled, elderly vets

To the Editor:

We now know what some feared.

Just before this past Memorial Day, as part of Donald Trump's first budget, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, announced the expansion of the Veterans Choice Program allowing veterans, in certain situations, to be seen by private doctors.

Along with this "perk" is the fact that this move to private health care will be paid for by veterans themselves with a steep reduction in benefits for the least among us, the disabled and the elderly vets. The move could take place as early as this fall and since many affected veterans are unused to the internet, they will first learn of it when their benefits are suddenly cut.

And these proposed cuts are severe. According to sources, the average veteran will immediately lose 35 percent of his/her income along with the loss of dental benefits, and survivor benefits for spouses. The cut will be immediate for those over 62 and as others reach 62, they too will be cut.

This plan could affect half of all totally disabled veterans which means about 300,000 veterans will lose benefits that have existed since before World War II.

As a candidate, Donald Trump made veterans services a top issue. At least in part Candidate Trump became President Trump because of his self-proclaimed "support" of veterans. Many veterans and their families took him at his word and voted for him, some on this basis alone. But now that he is President those promises don't seem to matter anymore.

It turns out that Donald Trump is just a typical politician after all, saying one thing but doing another.

Let's hope those other politicians, our members of Congress can set this budget proposal straight. However, all too often they, too, talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Looks like those that served and sacrificed could be pushed to the back of the line. Again.

Scott Eshelman


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