What's Really Happening to Veterans VA Healthcare?

March 22, 2024

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In the previous edition of Home Front, we encouraged our APWU veteran family to contact their local congressional leaders at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to keep privately-contracted healthcare providers away: “Hands Off Our Veterans Healthcare.” In this edition of Home Front, we will highlight a few of the numerous negative healthcare laws of the Trump-era VA Mission Act, that was passed by Congress, and signed into law on June 6, 2018, by former President Donald Trump. We will also attempt to explain the rapidly backwards moving direction that VA Healthcare has taken under the Mission Act, while supposedly improving the top-quality VA Healthcare services that our APWU veterans, retired APWU veterans, and our APWU family members of veterans receive.

The VA’s 21st century electronic technology utilizes private healthcare contract providers to implement VA Healthcare programs and systems. It’s called the Veterans Healthcare Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 (H.R. 3118) from the Clinton-era 104th Congress. It has been a huge, over 20-year, failure to our American veterans seeking VA Healthcare. This congressional decision has sent VA medical and mental health treatment backwards at a rapid pace. And The Mission Act is in the final processing stage of replacing thousands of highly trained regular VA Federal Government Healthcare employees, with private contract healthcare providers - or we can call it, the privatizing of VA Healthcare.

The Trump-era Mission Act is still the current law for VA Healthcare. It clearly states the following: “The VA will need to make changes in several key areas, including streamlining and improving Community Care, establishing a new Urgent Care Benefit, strengthening VA’s Workforce.”

So, let us ask ourselves today, as veterans, how has this six-year streamlining improved veterans’ healthcare or strengthened the VA workforce? The correct answer is it hasn’t. There are more than 20 million living American military veterans. Included in this figure are thousands of our APWU veteran family. If the Mission Act has improved the quality of healthcare services that our veterans receive, why are there only approximately eight million veterans currently enrolled in VA Healthcare? And why have only approximately 600,000 of those enrolled veterans used the Community Care provisions of the Mission Act? Probably because it’s been a huge failure and a financial disaster to thousands of veterans who have used this private health provider Community Care system, instead of actually going to the nearest VA medical facility in their local area.

Warning to all APWU Veterans: If you are enrolled in VA Healthcare, but choose to go to a private Community Healthcare provider or you go to a private hospital for emergency care (the Mission Act calls it Community Care or Urgent Care), there is a strong possibility, with the current understaffed VA Healthcare system that the APWU veteran will be billed by the private contractor because the VA will not pay your bill. To make matters worse, private VA authorized healthcare providers can garnish your Federal Government wages if the veteran refuses to pay the Community Care bill within 60 days.

Yep, it’s the law brought to you by the Trump-era Mission Act that Postal Service checks, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) retirement checks, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund checks, and Social Security checks can all be garnished by the Mission Act collection agency.

Finally, we have political, and congressional leaders in America plotting to destroy our American democracy in 2024. If they are successful, VA Healthcare will be destroyed as well.

Our goal is to keep our APWU veterans informed and updated on Veterans Benefits information.

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