18 March 2009

White House Makes Correct Decision On Veterans Insurance Proposal

/PRNewswire-- "The White House made the correct decision to withdraw its proposal for the Department of Veterans Affairs to have military veterans' personal insurance companies pay for their service-connected disability and wounds," said VAdm. Norb Ryan, Jr., USN-Ret., president of the Military Officers Association of America.

Adm. Ryan said he advised President Obama that "pursuing this insurance proposal would detract from the outstanding 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget he has put forth -- the best budget for veterans care in 30 years and the largest annual increase proposed by any President."

Adm. Ryan and leaders from several military and veterans service organizations (MSO/VSOs) met with President Obama Monday and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Monday and again Wednesday with Emanuel to voice their concerns and attempt to reach a workable solution to the Administration's payment idea. All organizations were against the initiative, and numerous Members of Congress also voiced their strenuous objections. The White House asked for the meeting after receiving a February 27 letter signed by 11 VSO and MSO leaders opposing the plan.

"The VA has a solemn obligation to care for those who have served in the military and fought for this nation," said Adm. Ryan. "We deeply appreciate that the President asked the veterans organizations to meet with him to discuss the issue and present our case."

According to Ryan, "The President indicated on Monday that he was there to listen to our concerns and was willing to drop the proposal if we could not support its merits. Both he and his Chief of Staff kept their promises by promptly withdrawing the proposal after today's meeting. To their credit, they listened and responded promptly, and we appreciate that."

"MOAA looks forward to working with the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to maximize the impact on this unprecedented budget that supports veterans and their families," Adm. Ryan said.

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