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It’s well known that the Bushites don’t much care that the number of Americans without health coverage has zoomed upward by seven million since they’ve been in charge, including an increase of 600,000 children last year alone. After all, says George W, all Americans have access to health care since “you just go to an emergency room.”
But here’s a bit of Bushite health-care callousness that is not generally known, and it might both surprise and appall you. The number of uninsured veterans has jumped dramatically on the Bush watch, with nearly two million vets now without health coverage. Indeed, the number of uncovered veterans has risen twice as fast as the number of uninsured in the general population, according to a report in the American Journal of Public Health.
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But wait, you say – isn’t Bush the guy who’s always saying, “Support the troops, support the troops?” Surely there must be some mistake. He wouldn’t turn his back on the troops once they come home, especially not sick and wounded vets – would he?
Sadly, appallingly… yes, he would. And this is not an oversight on his part either, for his administration has actively pushed policies to limit the number of vets eligible for coverage. In 2002, even as he was revving up the war machine to send our troops into Iraq, Bush administrators at the VA quietly stopped marketing health coverage to veterans, citing the need to constrain spending. A year later, they went further, actually cutting off access to future vets who earn more than about $30,000 a year. The result is that most of today’s uninsured veterans are lower-middle income workers who are too poor to afford private policies, but not poor enough to qualify for free health care.
This is beyond shameful. No Bushite should be allowed ever again to mouth the words: support our troops.
“Number of uninsured veterans nears 2 million,” USA Today, October 31, 2002
“American Families Are Losing Ground On Bush’s Watch” www.jec.senate.gov , August 28, 2007