February 16, 2007

Obama sponsored veterans bill honors Evans

I happened to be watching Countdown with Keith Olberman yesterday and he was interviewing Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. During the segment Rieckhoff mentioned the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act, which he said was co-sponsored by Barack Obama and Republican Olympia Snow of Maine.

This link to information on the bill (S. 3988) doesn't mention Snow. (Update: A search on Thomas shows there are now 6 co-sponsors: Olympia Snow, R-ME, Joe Biden, D-DE, Sherrod Brown, D-OH, John Kerry, D-MA, Barb Mikulski, D-MD , and Chuck Schumer, D-NY )

It's a great tribute that this bill bears Evans' name.

From Sen. Obama's remarks on the Senate floor introducing the legislation:
Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation that is significant both in the problems it seeks to address and the man it seeks to honor.

Since the day he arrived in Congress more than two decades ago, LANE EVANS has been a tireless advocate for the men and women with whom he served. When Vietnam vets started falling ill from Agent Orange, he led the effort to get them compensation. LANE was one of the first in Congress to speak out about the health problems facing Persian Gulf war veterans. He's worked to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he's also helped make sure thousands of homeless veterans in our country have a place to sleep.

LANE EVANS has fought these battles for more than 20 years, and even in the face of his own debilitating disease, he kept fighting. Today, veterans across America have LANE EVANS to thank for reminding this country of its duty to take care of those who have risked their lives to defend ours.

I am very proud today to introduce the Lane Evans Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006. This bill honors a legislator who leaves behind an enduring legacy of service to our veterans. The legislation also is an important step towards caring for our men and women who are currently fighting for us.
Full text of the bill here.


At 2/16/2007 4:44 AM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

It speaks volumes that the colleagues Lane worked with in Illinois and in Congress have honored him in this way. He may no longer be in Congress but he is obviously not forgotten.

At 2/17/2007 5:59 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

It is every bit as important to note the fate of the GOP Chair of the Vets Affairs Subcommittee who worked with the other members in developing this bill. As thanks for his genuine concern for all veterans, The Hammer removed him from his chairmanship and banished him from the subcommittee.

That is how dangerous it was to talk about the actual cost of this war in '04. Put a dollar figure on it, you're toast. It's a new Washington verb. He was Shinsekie'd.

The unfairness of Lane never having been Chair, even for a day, is not lost on those of us who served. That's nothing against Phil. Sometimes life just sucketh.

At 2/17/2007 11:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Well said as usual, UMR

At 2/18/2007 2:46 PM, Anonymous tehran said...

In our hearts, Lane is and always will be a Chair! Although some people thought of him more as a stool!Not me. I awlays thought of Lane as a mahogany rush seat!

You people are so stupid that it hurts.

At 2/18/2007 8:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Tehran, thanks for the intelligent comment. Obviously you put a lot of thought behind it. For you.

Really made a great point there.

And you can't even spell Teheran right. Well, you tried I guess.

At 2/28/2007 11:17 PM, Blogger RTO Trainer said...

I encouraged my Congressional delegation to vote against S. 117 - the Lane Evans Veterans Healthcare & Benefits Improvement Act.

It may seem strange that a serving Veteran and National Guardsman might oppose this bill. I do. While I do believe that every returning Soldier needs and deserves access to mental health counseling and that it should be provided compulsorily, I'm mindful that the VA has never been fully funded and this activity would naturally fall to them. In this light, S. 117 amounts to an unfunded mandate which would deprive other, just as deserving, Veterans of treatment, and further increase already unconscionably long delays.

I asked them not to fall into the "patriot trap," that just because it's for Veterans its a good thing. This bill trades on the desire to support the troops, but is particularly poorly thought through in it's execution. Full funding of the VA, would be the correct course to take and a better use of the Congress' time. Then if we think we can add more, so be it.

In addition, S. 117 contains requirements for a raft of reports on the use of Veterans' benefits. This further exacerbates the funding problem and steals time from administrators already working beyond capacity. Supporters of the bill never mention this added and unnecessary burden.

At 2/24/2008 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VA gets a billion dollars a year from MegaPharms for Research. This is apportioned to VA Doctors throughout the system with Physicians getting multi-million dollar research grants, largely about drug efficacy and disease origins. The VA literally launders the money between the megapharms and the doctors to maintain the appearance of objectivity of this research. If the University Dcotors took the money directly it would be conflict of interest. If the VA takes, then reapportions the money, the Doctors get rich while giving the Megapharms the research they want. It’s critical to understand this symbiosis, to understand why Veterans suffer. It’s Institutional Scale, FELONY Conflict of Interest. These doctors are federal employees, as well as usually being on the staff of teaching Universities.

Megapharms, the Medical Industry and Defense Contractors were some of the Bush Campaign’s biggest contributors. More often than not, research performed through the VA “proves” that manufacturers of Agent Orange and Depleted Uranium are innocent of harming our Veterans. They “prove” that although 75% of Hep C cases in this country are Veterans, they ALL acquired the disease snorting cocaine from the same straw, in the same Discoteque, in 1978. They couldn’t possibly have gotten it from contaminated serums received in Basic Combat Training. If they had, then the manufacturers of those serums, that now manufacture the drugs to treat Hep C, might be subject to Civil Liability… as would the manufacturers of Agent Orange or Depleted Uranium Munitions.

Veterans that have disabilities connected to military service do not get benefits automatically. They have to prove the relationship between active service and and the disability in question. This creates an adversarial relationship between the care provider and the patient… and puts the VA Staff under pressure to NOT IDENTIFY OR DIAGNOSE, yet alone TREAT, these service acquired maladies.


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