Mar 20

VFW Washington Weekly – March 20, 2009

In This Issue:
1. Third-Party Collection Proposal Withdrawn
2. VFW Commander-in-Chief Testifies
3. Akaka Receives VFW Congressional Award
4. House VA Committee Hearings
5. VFW Chief Meets with Secretary of State
6. Colorado to Get New VA Hospital
7. DOD to End Stop Loss

1. Third-Party Collection Proposal Withdrawn: The Obama Administration announced Wednesday that it had withdrawn consideration of a proposal to bill veterans with private insurance for their service-connected disability treatments.  In a Monday White House meeting, VFW National Commander Glen Gardner said the president told a group of 11 military and veterans' organizations that he would listen if they objected to the proposal.  "The president kept to his word and made the right decision," said Gardner. "Now we can move forward and work with his administration and Congress to ensure that the rest of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget recommendation is signed into law."  The VFW thanks everyone for the e-mails and phone calls you made to the White House and your congressional offices on this critical issue.  Your advocacy helped to defeat this proposal and reaffirms that when we all work together we can make a difference and help wounded and service-connected disabled veterans from every generation. 
Read the VFW press release at: www.vfw.org.

Read the rest of this week's Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-march-20-2009/

Mar 18

President Meets with VFW to Discuss Third-Party Billing Proposal

Washington, March 17, 2009 – President Obama met yesterday with the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. to discuss the VFW's opposition to an administration proposal to bill veterans with private health insurance for the care they receive for their service-connected disabilities and wounds.

"The president told us that he would not go through with the third-party billing proposal if he felt the veterans' community didn't approve of it," said Glen M. Gardner Jr., who leads the nation's largest organization of combat veterans. "We made our opposition clearly known."

The administration proposed Feb. 26 that the Department of Veterans Affairs would receive $55.9 billion in discretionary funding in fiscal year 2010, an amount that exceeds the current year budget by $5.5 billion. Gardner said the proposal includes good initiatives, such as additional funding to enable more veterans to enroll into the VA system, to expand the concurrent receipt of disability compensation and retirement pay for medically-retired veterans, and to target access to care issues, especially for rural veterans. Included, however, was a proposal to increase third-party collections by billing for service-connected disability treatments.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/president-meets-with-vfw-to-discuss-third-party-billing-proposal/

Mar 16

March/April Checkpoint Magazine

VFW Checkpoint March/April 2009 – Get more Business Plans

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/marchapril-checkpoint-magazine/

Mar 16

VFW Washington Weekly – March 13, 2009

In This Issue:
1. Third-Party Collection Proposal a Reality
2. VFW Testifies on FY 2010 VA Budget
3. House Small Business Hearing
4. VA Celebrates 20th Birthday Sunday

1. Third-Party Collection Proposal a Reality: VA Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed in House and Senate VA Committee testimony Tuesday that the Administration's FY 2010 VA budget is considering a proposal to bill veterans with private insurance for their service-connected disability treatments.  Although some committee members questioned the proposal, only three voiced their outright objections to it: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking minority member Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME).  VFW joins them in adamantly opposing any attempt to pass healthcare costs on to wounded and service-connected disabled veterans.  Billing a veteran's private insurance could lead to higher premiums and make it difficult for veterans and their families to obtain or retain their health insurance, as well as discourage employers from hiring disabled vets.  The VFW is asking all of its members as well as all Americans to contact the White House and their congressional delegations to urge them to stop this budget proposal. 
To send a message to the White House, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
To send a message to your members of Congress, go to: http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=12844211
To read the VFW press release, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=4952

Read more Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-march-13-2009/

Mar 13

Veterans Secretary: Open Letter to Veterans

Shinseki Open LetterFree Legal Forms

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/veterans-secretary-open-letter-to-veterans/

Mar 12

VFW Testifies for Veteran-Owned Business Contracts

Click here for a complete listing of VFW Congressional Testimonies

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-testifies-for-veteran-owned-business-contracts/

Mar 04

VFW Against VA Collection Increase Proposal

Washington, March 4, 2009 – The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. wants the Obama administration to kill a controversial budget proposal that would bill veterans with private health insurance for the care they receive for their service-connected disabilities and wounds.

"It is unconscionable to pass along the costs of war to wounded and disabled veterans," said the VFW's Glen M. Gardner Jr., a Vietnam veteran from Round Rock, Texas. "This is one policy proposal that the VFW will work hard to defeat because it breaks a sacred trust that veterans have with their government."

The administration proposed Thursday that the Department of Veterans Affairs would receive $55.9 billion in discretionary funding in fiscal year 2010, an amount that exceeds the current year budget by $5.5 billion. Gardner said the proposal includes good initiatives, such as additional funding to enable more veterans to enroll into the VA system, to expand the concurrent receipt of disability compensation and retirement pay for medically-retired veterans, and to target access to care issues, especially for rural veterans. But the VFW national commander stopped short of applauding the budget when it was confirmed that VA would increase third party collections by billing for service-connected disability treatments.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-against-va-collection-increase-proposal/

Mar 02

March Survey


February's question: "What kind of volunteer activities are you doing in 2009 to support America's troops, veterans and military families?" garnered the following responses:

  • "Each year I adopt three or four soldiers. I write weekly letters of support and send monthly care packages. I crochet booties and make blankets for the wounded. I send toothbrushes and toothpaste to the wounded in Germany."
  • "Primarily, I am staying active in the VFW and my church."
  • "I will be giving WWII veterans their medals and certificates. I also put up the veterans flags at the graveyard next door to me."

Read more responses

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/march-survey/

Mar 02

VFW Washington Weekly – February 27, 2009

1. FY2010 VA Budget Released
2. GI Bill Hearing
3. FY2010 Defense Budget Released
4. HASC Hearing on Military Personnel
5. Dover Media Ban Lifted

1. FY2010 VA Budget Released: President Obama released a fiscal year 2010 budget outline Thursday for the Department of Veterans Affairs that contains a sizeable increase in veterans discretionary funding to a total of $55.9 billion, which is about $5.5 billion more than the current funding level.  The president's proposal is in line with what the VFW is calling for in the Independent Budget.  The budget proposal includes additional funding to allow more veterans to enroll in the VA system, and targets access issues, especially for rural veterans.  It would also expand concurrent receipt of disability compensation and retirement pay for highly disabled veterans who are medically retired from the service.  The VFW does have one note of concern that is being tracked down, and that's to determine if the budget anticipates charging a service-connected disabled veteran's private health insurance for service-connected disability care.  If true, the VFW will fight this proposal vigorously.  More information will be relayed as full budget details become available.
For more on the VFW co-written Independent Budget, go to: www.independentbudget.org.
To view the FY10 budget proposal for the VA, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/Department_of_Veterans_Affairs.pdf.

Continue reading VFW Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-february-27-2009/

Feb 26

Supreme Court Rules to Protect Govt. Monuments; VFW Monument Challenge to be Heard

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today [Wednesday], The Supreme Court announced its ruling in Pleasant Grove, Utah v. Summum which says that the presence of a donated monument does not require the acceptance of all donated monuments. The ruling, which reverses the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, works in favor of veterans' memorials nationwide, since many are donated and would have been threatened by the Tenth Circuit's ruling. The Court's majority opinion specifically references the brief filed by Liberty Legal Institute on behalf of the veterans.

"The millions of veterans we represent are pleased and see this as a crucial first step in protecting our veterans' memorials from attacks nationwide," said
Kelly Shackelford
, chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute, which represents the major veterans groups who filed a brief in the case. "These attacks on veterans' memorials are a disgrace and we are hopeful that the Salazar case, which the Court just granted review, will finally put an end to these sad assaults on our American heritage."

The Supreme Court heard the Summum case on November 12, 2008. Liberty Legal Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of the largest-ever coalition of veterans, including The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW), and Veterans of the Vietnam War (VVnW) and the Veterans Coalition.

See prior story for background

On Monday, The Supreme Court announced its acceptance of the war memorial case Salazar (Interior Secretary) v. Buono, which deals with the 8-foot-tall Mojave Desert Cross. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the memorial to World War I veterans is unconstitutional, and a proposal to transfer the land to the VFW, which erected the cross in 1934, was also ruled unconstitutional by the court.

See LA Times story for more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/supreme-court-rules-to-protect-govt-monuments-vfw-monument-challenge-to-be-heard/

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