Obama Takes Billing Private Insurance for VA Treatment off the Table 

3/19/2009 

After a carefully coordinated effort by veteran and military service organizations, including the Association of the United States Army, President Barack Obama decided to remove from consideration the proposal to bill veteran’s private or work provided health insurance for Veterans’ Administration treatment of service-connected medical needs.

AUSA sent a letter to the president that deemed the concept of third-party billing for VA service-connected health care as “unacceptable and an abrogation of our government’s moral and legal responsibility to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.” 

AUSA government affairs director, Bill Loper, was in a veteran/military service organization meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when, to a standing ovation, she announced the president’s decision. 

Later in the meeting, the organizations’ top priorities, including closing the pay gap, preventing healthcare fee increases, ending the SBP-DIC offset and many others were presented to the speaker and more than 20 House chairmen and members at the first of a continuing series of meetings with congressional leaders.

There is much good news in the proposed VA budget which is 10.3 percent higher than last year’s budget, and is, for the first time in history, higher than the Veterans’ Independent Budget created by advocacy groups. 

This higher level of funding will go far in helping to assure quality care delivery and increased access for veterans, particularly for lower priority group veterans. 

AUSA stands with its fellow veterans and military service organizations in its advocacy for soldiers -- active and reserve component, retirees, family members and Army civilians.