Veterans

Letter | Time to resurrect VA pilot programs to address care issues

June 13, 2014 

I’m an 82-year old veteran. On November 12, 2002, I sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina about a pilot program being tested in Brevard County, Fla. that would allow veterans to seek treatment in any medical facility that accepts Medicare or private insurance and the Veterans Administration would pick up the payments.

I suggested to him that a Veteran’s Voucher card be issued to qualified vets.

Rep. H. Brown responded regarding the “Capps-Weldon” pilot program. “During past Congresses, VA-Hud Appropriation Reports earmarked funds for several pilot programs throughout the U.S.,” he said. A 1998 VA-Hud Bill in East Central Florida cut cost by 14.5 percent.

I sent Rep. H. Brown another idea. A Money Magazine article in May 2003 suggested flexible spending account (FSA) debit cards for corporations where expenses could be reduced by 30 to 40 percent. The U.S. Navy was testing it.

I don’t know the current status of these ancient VA voucher pilot programs and the Navy FSA debit cards. It may be time to resurrect them in view of the current catastrophe going on in the broken down, inefficient U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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