Obama Pledges Reform Won’t Change Veterans’ Health Care
During his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Ariz., on Monday, President Barack Obama "noted that his administration was committed to increased spending on VA health care," The Associated Press reports. "And since there's been so much misinformation out there about health insurance reform, let me say this: One thing that reform won't change is veterans' health care. No one is going to take away your benefits. That's the truth," Obama said. He added that "he was also directing each of the 57 regional VA offices 'to come up with the best ways of doing business, harnessing the best information technologies, breaking through the bureaucracy.' He said the government would then pay to put the best ideas into action 'all with a simple mission - cut these backlogs, slash those wait times and deliver your benefits sooner'" (Sidoti, 8/17).
The East Valley Tribune reports that "the blare of megaphones rose with the sun in downtown Phoenix Monday as more than 1,000 protestors from all over the political spectrum called for President Barack Obama to take action on myriad issues. Most dominant among the crowds, of course, are critics and supporters of the current health care reform proposal." The White House has recently signaled that it might consider an overhaul without a public option, but the message did not seem to assuage the protestors. "While these protestors don't trust Obama, [two protestors interviewed for the article] said, they hold Republican lawmakers in low esteem, as well. On the other side, Obama supporters appeared energetic about the president as well as his proposed reforms" (Gabrielson and Reese, 8/17).
CBS News: "A spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party says that people have been calling their offices wanting to get involved. After seeing the rage and rancor at congressional town halls around the country, many Democrats here have been looking for ways to have their voices heard, calling or e-mailing the state party asking "where can we show our support." The state party and groups such as the Obama campaign arm, Organizing for America, used social networking, e-mails and traditional word of mouth to mobilize their supporters. A few hours into the demonstrations, more anti-Obama and anti-health care protestors showed up outside the Phoenix convention center. With chants of "kill the bill" and "no Obama," the two sides of protestors faced off against each other from across an intersection" (Hendin, 8/17).
In a separate article, The AP reports that " The nation's top veterans affairs official says medical benefits for veterans will not change under the health care reforms being considered in Washington. U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki spoke Monday at a town hall meeting with veterans in Philadelphia, where he pledged to modernize the Veterans Administration for the 21st century. He notes the department's 2010 budget is being increased 15 percent" (8/17).