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Soldier's Letters

March 19th, 2005 5:35 PM

"Support our concerns"

From: "Veterans"
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2005 5:35 PM
Subject: Support our concerns

March 18, 2005

To Michael Moore:

We are veterans participating in the Work Therapy Program (WTP) at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The WTP is a psychosocial program designed to meet the needs of veterans whose goal is to return to competitive employment within the community. Our military involvement reflects participation in the Vietnam War, through the Persian Gulf War years.

We are deeply concerned about the VA's capacity to identify and treat veterans returning from the Iraq War along with meeting ongoing medical needs of current veterans. Currently, all VA Medical Centers are experiencing cuts in their overall funding in the magnitude of over twelve million dollars. This reduction in the allocation of funds to the Ann Arbor VA has negatively affected many services and programs including the WTP.

For instance, the WTP daily meal tickets and travel vouchers have been eliminated from the program. There has been a gradual erosion of benefits that has predisposed our medical care to less than what it was when we enlisted. For example, restriction of services –- no dental care unless service connected, the elimination of inpatient care for substance abuse (it is currently regional instead of local), FY '06 projects increasing pharmacy co-payments from $7 to $15 for a 30 day supply of medication, the establishment of an annual enrollment fee of $250.00, and ever changing restrictions on service connection benefits. Also, in FY '04 there was a 16% increase in productivity within VA's nationwide. This alludes to an increase in productivity with fewer funds; therefore, the quality of maintenance and patient care comes into question. Given the most recent cuts, we are very concerned about the future of entitlements that were effective upon our entry into the military and the quality of care for future veterans. The following list represents further concerns:

1. President started the war and then cut benefits; this represents a big contradiction.

2. Families and communities are affected by service men/women needing aftercare, especially those whose benefits are limited or non-existent.

3. Preventative medical assistance/attention would cost less in the long-run.

4. Current lawmakers do not have formal military training thus, rendering them with a poor history of strategic planning.

5. What long term medical care are Reservists entitled to?

6. Government does not stand behind entitlements granted at time of enlistment.

7. Enrollment fee will cause hardships because money is already allocated to bills, rent, etc.

8. Veterans feel victimized when cuts to entitlements are considered quietly on the backs of publicly discussed proposals.

We are hopeful that by sharing our concerns, your commitment to our rights and future well-being will not waver. We believe in preserving freedom and we have a deep belief in what this country was founded on. We need support from the people we voted for.

Veterans of America

1. Michael D. Thomas
2. Steven W. Stowell
3. Edward C. Serman
4. Robert Harris
5. Lindsey Andersen
6. Maria A. Johnides
7. Robert J. Comier
8. Michael M. Hall
9. Glen L. Hill
10. Russell Rhodes, J.
11. Lee Ann Mueller
12. John P. Idema
13. Sam Perry
14. William Newman
15. Cynthia Marsden
16. Kerry V. Mills
17. Harold W. Klenk
18. Terrence W. Tucker
19. Greg Ettling
20. Leo Richards
21. Leonard Robinson
22. Chris Nickelson
23. Steven L. Decker
24. Jillian Trager
25. Herbert Harris
26. Joseph Flemington
27. Kenneth McCarroll
28. Calvin Barnett
29. Daniel G. Abbott
30. Freddie Bell
31. Gabriel Soto
32. Alan Cameron-Bailey
33. Walter M. May
34. Diahann Chatman
35. George Suehr
36. Sandra McAfee
37. William Berman
38. Larry W. Tyson
39. Joel Wells
40. Jeffrey Boileau
41. Joseph Olivares
42. Cecil Rinesmith
43. Paul Dossahboy
44. Corrine Kemmish
45. Tom Douglass

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