Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds

Bob Hubbard

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Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds


  • Story Highlights
  • Wounded soldier gets billed $3,000 for wounds suffered in Iraq
  • "I put my life on the line ... and they're not going to take care of my medical bills?"
  • Army Sgt. Erik Roberts was wounded in April 2006; he's had 13 surgeries on his leg
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio urged the VA to act; VA agrees to pay bill
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/26/wounded.warrior/index.html
 
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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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His mother, Robin Roberts, put it more succinctly: "Why should any soldier pay one penny of a medical bill from injuries that occurred while they were fighting in a war? That's what really frustrates me."

Why should any soldier pay one penny of a medical bill from injuries that occurred while they were fighting in a war?

They shouldn't. Nor should they pay for all of the associated medical and mental issues that come with the territory.
 

Joab

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Of course they shouldn't pay any of their medical bills! If you get injured while in combat fighting for your country in the military, the government should pay all the bills! It's totally outrageous that they charged this guy anything in the first place!
 

Tez3

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Our service people don't have to pay for treatment as we have the NHS but they aren't getting the treatment they should. Charities often military ones are taking most of the burden of helping with prosthetic limbs, building swimming pools for therapy ( after local people complained that they had to see people without limbs in their local pool where they were brought for physio) and follow up care. There's been talk of service people getting priority in medical treatment but only talk, we don't have military hospitals any more, the government closed them down and we have a couple of hospitals with 'military wards' on with military medical staff on but they are also spread throughout the rest of the hospital, usually filling in for civilian staff and saving on overtime bills for the hospital trust. Military nurses aren't restricted on how many hours they can work!
Wounded military personnel not only need the best medical care they need it in a familiar setting, with the military.
There's plans by one of the best charities Help for Heroes to build seven convalscent homes in areas that are easier for families to visit, land has just been allocated by MoD to build one on our garrison. However all the money for these will have to be raised by the charity. We're doing our bit, we are having an MMA fight night and have got some of the top Brit fighters to come and fight for free! We've fund raised before for regimental charities like 3 Para and the Royal Anglians, we're very proud to help but it's so so wrong that we have to fund raise for the basic care they need, that's the governments responsibilty and they are ignoring the basic needs of the troops who fought and were wounded in the service of their country.

http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/H4H_ataglance.html
 

grydth

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Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds


  • Story Highlights
  • Wounded soldier gets billed $3,000 for wounds suffered in Iraq
  • "I put my life on the line ... and they're not going to take care of my medical bills?"
  • Army Sgt. Erik Roberts was wounded in April 2006; he's had 13 surgeries on his leg
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio urged the VA to act; VA agrees to pay bill
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/26/wounded.warrior/index.html

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this story is that Sgt Roberts did try a VA Hospital when he noticed the signs of a major infection... and was sent home! Only by then going outside the VA system did Roberts get the care he needed to save his leg, and possibly his life.

Folks it is not enough that the vets have their bills paid, we need to insist on quality care for veterans.
 

exile

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The attitude expressed by the VA through their cavalier treatment of Roberts' case, prior to Brown's intervention, is morally bankrupt to a degree that only be described as criminal. What's astonishing is that the guy isn't more bitter about it...

Who the hell are the bureaucratic flunkies who make these kinds of decisions? My feeling is that the people running the VA should be ex-soldiers. Who knows better what faces ex-service people? This sort of behavior isn't just shameful, it's also the worst possible advertisement for the armed forces you could imagine. Andy's post is right on target: in a time of voluntary enlistment, someone really expects this kind of story to get young people to sign up?? This episode merits an Organization-level Darwin Award...
 

arnisador

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My feeling is that the people running the VA should be ex-soldiers.

That wouldn't automatically give them enough funding to do the job completely and well.

I don't doubt that they feel the need to send those with private insurance off whenever they can so they can concentrate funds on indigent veterans.

Only Congress could fund the VA system at a level that'd allow and encouragement full fulfillment of the government's legal and moral obligations here. But the VA system doesn't make campaign contributions.
 

Tez3

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Brave soldiers going off to war, soldiers with sniffer dogs saving lives, soldiers receiving medals etc etc thats all 'sexy' for the politicians (sexy is how one aide to a politician here described anything and they meant anything, thats good PR) however soldier's coffins and injured soldiers certainly aren't good for 'PR' and as you say campaign funds.

One disabled soldier here was refused planning permission by the local council (politicians not civil servants) to build a bungalow so he could live independantly as they said it would ruin the country view! The media got hold of it and campaigned to make the government order the council to change its mind. What sort of thinking is that?

There's soldiers selling their medals because they need money to be able to live now they are disabled. the NHS will provide basic care but surely they deserve more than that, they deserve the best.
 

exile

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That wouldn't automatically give them enough funding to do the job completely and well.

No, for sure it wouldn't. But it would change the nature of the VA's advocacy, I strongly suspect.

I don't doubt that they feel the need to send those with private insurance off whenever they can so they can concentrate funds on indigent veterans.

Yes, but they should also be the provider of last resort. Obviously that would involve a change both in their funding base and in their approach to those under their care. I get the sense that the VA administrators do not feel a strong moral obligation to advocate, in a very public, emotionally intense way, the cause of the veterans their agency was put in place to assist.

Only Congress could fund the VA system at a level that'd allow and encouragement full fulfillment of the government's legal and moral obligations here. But the VA system doesn't make campaign contributions.

No. But an activist VA could provide some very severe pressure on members of Congress to provide sick and injured ex-servicement more of what they need. People can be shamed into doing what they ought to be doing for higher motives—in the end, it's their actions which count. And that kind of VA is more likely to emerge, I think, if the core of VA administration came themselves from the ranks of the military—particularly those who had seen active service.
 

Tez3

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Do you have an organisation like our Royal British Legion or is the VA supposed to be it? the Legion is run by ex service people and is a tremendous help for ex service people. It lobbies hard,raises funds and supports ex service people emotionally and practically, they also organise the Poppy appeal.
http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/
 

arnisador

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To exile's post: Well, it's currently headed by a retired 4-star who was Army Chief of Staff...but lower-level people with civil service status in some ways have more freedom than political appointees.

Having been a civilian DoD employee for several years, though, I fear you may be overestimating the power of advocacy and underestimating the lethargy of bureaucracy. Of course, I'd be most happy to see a VA we could be proud of and agree with the sense of outrage. Given the state that Walter Reed was found in, though, which was run by the military itself, I can't be optimistic.
 

arnisador

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Do you have an organisation like our Royal British Legion or is the VA supposed to be it?

The VA is a govt. agency that administers certain veterans' benefits, most conspicuously the health care system for veterans. We do have a variety of nongovernmental veterans' groups though. Some even have a congressional charter.
 

Hand Sword

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Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds


  • Story Highlights
  • Wounded soldier gets billed $3,000 for wounds suffered in Iraq
  • "I put my life on the line ... and they're not going to take care of my medical bills?"
  • Army Sgt. Erik Roberts was wounded in April 2006; he's had 13 surgeries on his leg
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio urged the VA to act; VA agrees to pay bill
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/26/wounded.warrior/index.html

Absolutely Terrible and very shameful!
 

exile

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To exile's post: Well, it's currently headed by a retired 4-star who was Army Chief of Staff...but lower-level people with civil service status in some ways have more freedom than political appointees.

See, that's exactly the thing. Guys like the one you've pointed out make good figureheads... but the question is, just how much do the powers that be want an outspoken VA? My guess is, not very much.

Having been a civilian DoD employee for several years, though, I fear you may be overestimating the power of advocacy and underestimating the lethargy of bureaucracy.

Maybe... but I have worked for government agencies in Canada, as a member of a research staff firmly embedded in one of the Ministries of one of Canada's provinces, and I've seen first hand just how lethargic those types can be...

Of course, I'd be most happy to see a VA we could be proud of and agree with the sense of outrage. Given the state that Walter Reed was found in, though, which was run by the military itself, I can't be optimistic.

Hmmm... I missed that. Walter Reed? I'd always thought of that place as one of the crown jewels of the military... that doesn't sound very good. I should do some homework on what you're referring to...

Sigh... and here it is, alas... :(
 

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