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  • Writer's pictureBetter Neighbors Network

Republicans' Proposed Budget Cuts Endanger Veteran Health Programs and Benefits

In a move sparking widespread bipartisan concern, the GOP's 2023 debt ceiling bill includes a 22% reduction in federal programs, with no exception for vital veteran programs. These cuts will have severe consequences for essential services, prompting an outcry from veterans and organizations dedicated to their well-being.

The proposed 22% funding cut would result in 30 million fewer outpatient visits for veterans and the loss of 81,000 jobs within the Veterans Health Administration. This would leave veterans struggling to secure appointments for crucial healthcare services, including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health support, and substance use disorder treatment.

Such cuts would be particularly devastating considering the existing challenges veterans face in accessing healthcare and other benefits. Many veterans return from active service with physical and mental health issues that require ongoing care, while also grappling with employment and housing difficulties. Reducing funding for programs that address these needs would inevitably exacerbate their struggles.

Veterans relying on non-VA programs, such as nearly one million individuals and military families depending on SNAP (food stamps), would face the risk of losing these vital resources. This jeopardizes their ability to provide for their families' basic needs, including food and shelter.

A coalition of approximately two dozen veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, penned a letter to Congress expressing alarm over the proposed legislation. They emphasized that without explicit protection for the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans' programs, the budget reductions could undermine the progress made in supporting those who have served. They urged Congress to honor veterans' sacrifices and provide them with the best possible healthcare and benefits.

The refusal to exempt veteran programs from these cuts sends a message that the sacrifices made by veterans are not valued. It is essential to back up our words with actions that demonstrate genuine concern for their well-being.

As a nation, we have a moral obligation to care for those who have risked their lives to defend our country. It is crucial to stand up for our veterans and ensure they have access to the healthcare programs they deserve. Our actions should reflect the values we hold dear, showing that we are committed to supporting those who have selflessly served our nation.



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