I thought we might be able to go more than a few hours without another installment of (hands in the) Cookie Jar Watch. But it wasn't meant to be.
As you know healthcare is a very pricey commodity -- but one which veterans earn a right to by virtue of their service. But, think about, couldn't we save a few bucks if we just didn't tell these guys and gals about the healthcare services they're entitled to? A shameful attitude, you say? Well, the Bush administration apparently doesn't agree.
A couple weeks ago a Bush appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Laura J. Miller, sent out a memo to local administrators telling them to stop healthcare outreach programs to vets so that the Department could save money.
In the memo (just added to TPM Document Collection), Miller notes the growing demand for VA healthcare services. But "against this backdrop," she notes, "is very conservative OMB budget guidance for 2004." In plain English that means we need more money to service all the vets who are applying for VA healthcare services, but Mitch Daniels and the White House says we can't have it.
Get more resources to serve the deserving vets?
Bite the bullet and say the budget requires cuts in VA health benefits?
No, no, no. Just order local officials to stop all efforts to tell vets what services they're entitled to. What could be easier?
In the memo, Miller orders local administrators to "ensure that no marketing activities to enroll new veterans occur within your networks." Efforts to get out the word about VA health services, the memo goes on to say, "with such activities as health fairs, veteran open houses to invite new veterans to the facilities, or enrollment displays at VSO meetings, are inappropriate."
At least they're pro-military.