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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Requested removal of income limits on VA Priority Groups

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I have been fighting to get the income limits removed from "VA Prioirty Groups."

The Veteran's Administration arranges our veterans into "priority groups" based upon the veteran's income. If a Veteran earns an income higher than the national poverty line, then the veteran is not allowed to use their medical benefits (among other important benefits).

It is my belief that ALL veterans should be entitled to EQUAL benefits, and that their personal income should not matter. As a patient at the Atlanta VAMC, I assure you that any veteran who can afford decent medical care will go to the VA only as a last resort. There are long standing customer service issues in the Atlanta offices, which need to be addressed.

Right now, the VA can not handle servicing our current veterans. To seek medical service at the VA, many veterans wait as long as a year in advance for an appointment. We must fix our system now, because there are many soldiers and sailors about to come home from "fighting the war on terrorism." They are going to immediately need both physical and mental health care. All veterans have earned and deserved the benefits that were promised to them when they joined the service.

At a recent VA Roundtable meeting with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, I said, "If we aren't going to arrange our troops deployed in the field by their personal wealth, why should we arrange our veterans by their income? As I veteran, I promise you that bullets on the battlefield never take income into consideration - neither should the VA!"

Some say that the priority groups are because the VA can't afford to treat everyone. If the VA can't afford it - give them the money. Denying a veteran the benefits they have already earned is not the answer.

This afternoon I received a telephone call from Senator Saxby Chambliss in response to my requests to both the House and the Senate for legislation regarding this matter.

We owe it to our veterans to take care of them. Please call your elected officials if you agree with me!

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