1.8 million veterans lack health coverage

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Of the 47 million uninsured Americans, one in every eight or 12.2 percent is a veteran or member of a veteran’s household, according to a study by Harvard Medical School researchers published in the December 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

1.8 million veterans or 12.7 percent of non-elderly veterans were uninsured in 2004, up 290,000 since 2000, the study found. An additional 3.8 million members of their households were also uninsured and ineligible for VA care.

Veterans were only classified as uninsured if they neither had health insurance nor received ongoing care at Veterans Health Administration hospitals or clinics.

Other findings of the study include:

  • The number of uninsured veterans has increased by 290,000 since 2000, when 9.9 percent of non-elderly veterans were uninsured, a figure which rose to 12.7 percent in 2004.
  • Of the 1.768 million uninsured, 645,628 were Vietnam-era veterans while 1,105,891 were veterans who served during other eras including the Iraq and Gulf Wars.
  • Of uninsured veterans, 56.5 percent were older than 44.
  • Uninsured veterans had as much trouble getting medical care as other uninsured persons. More than 26 percent of uninsured veterans reported that they had failed to get needed care due to costs; 31.2 percent had delayed care due to costs; 49 percent had not seen a doctor within the past year; and two-thirds failed to receive preventive care.
  • Nearly two-thirds of uninsured veterans were employed.
  • The report states that many uninsured veterans are barred from VA care because of a 2003 Bush Administration order that halted enrollment of most middle income veterans. Others are unable to obtain VA care due to waiting lists at some VA facilities, unaffordable co-payments for VA specialty care, or the lack of VA facilities in their communities.

“Since President Bush took office the number of uninsured vets has skyrocketed, and he’s cut eligibility, barring hundreds of thousands of veterans from care,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, co-author of the study and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. “This administration has put troops in harm’s way overseas and abandoned them and their families once they got home.â€?

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7 Comments

  1. All Vets have health care and the always have. Its called the VA. Wow, what a propaganda piece. The government caused the problem with health care in America by over socializing (with mandates) medicine to the extent it is not completive, and we want to exacerbate the problem? U.S. Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as “legal persons” or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money (see finance and credit). See http://www.InteliOrg.com/

  2. If these people would just save their money they could afford insurance instead of blowing it on all kinds of crap they think they need like cable t.v.

  3. Every other first-world country has health care as a universal right of all citizens, paid for by all citizens through their taxes. In these countries, everyone get health care, it costs half as much, and the quality is comparable or better than ours. Even better, you get rid of insurance companies that specialize in insuring only the healthy, and dumping people as soon as they contract a chronic illness.

    Our capitalism drives the bottom-line to use health care to make money, and the sick be damned.

    Health care is not, should not be, and does not work when it is made a competitive, profit-driven enterprise. By the way, all those advances from research that do improve medicine also come from taxpayer funding, and are then repackaged and sold a second and third time to us by drug company rip-offs.

    VA health care is now in a shambles, because the money has been cut again and again by our “support the troops, until they come home” Bushies. That’s why you find numerous documented cases of VA psychologists pressured to get vets to admit to drug and alcohol problems, depression, etc so that, once they are discharged, the VA can say they had a preexisting condition and not pay for their care.

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