Your morning veterans news update for Tuesday, August 5:
Obama to sign VA bill on Thursday (USA Today)
Veterans’ health care will be on the agenda Thursday as President Obama signs a new bill revamping the Department of Veterans Affairs. Obama will sign the legislation at Fort Belvoir, Va., near Washington, D.C. Congress passed the bill in the face of reports of long wait lines and poor care at VA hospitals across the country.
How ‘Choice Card’ and $15 billion will help vets get care (Trenton Times)
Veterans reading only headlines, hearing only sound bites, might have a few misconceptions about how Congress and the VA plan to use non-VA health care providers to ensure more timely and convenient access to care. A magical sounding item called a “Veteran’s Choice Card,” for example, won’t be a limitless credit card given qualified veterans to cover whatever health services they receive from whatever physician they use.
Iraq, Afghanistan war vets target the Senate in 2014 (National Journal)
If Republicans take the Senate in November, it could be thanks to two candidates who could form their own first-of-its-kind caucus: combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan elected to the Senate. More victories would swell the ranks of veterans of the recent Middle East wars in Congress — a new wave of politicians that observers from both parties hope will bring a dose of perspective and pragmatism to veterans’ issues, even if they don’t always align ideologically.
Commentary: Disabled veterans need the Senate to adopt disabilities treaty (The Hill)
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international disability rights treaty strongly supported by leading national veterans service organizations, could soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. The CRPD is the international framework of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a pathway to pressing nations around the world to increase their accessibility standards to the heights of the ADA. Thus, despite coming up five votes short in 2012, veterans groups are pushing hard on senators to vote “yes” this time around.
Opinion: Historic opportunities abound in quest to improve veterans’ healthcare (Huffington Post)
A number of recent activities indicate that there is a unique opportunity to substantially improve the provision of healthcare services to veterans through the VA. This improvement will only occur, however, if bold and innovative thinking and action is pursued. Simply throwing more money and resources at the inherent structural, and at times, fraudulent activities of the VA system (i.e. fabricated health services record keeping), will likely result in little meaningful change.
Opinion: Military personnel costs need a hard look (Washington Post)
In our troubled world, would you prefer that the United States had six more F-16 squadrons over the next year or pay the 1 percent annual cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees younger than 62?