No. 016-99  
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              July 22, 1999                       (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 


George C. Duggins, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), expressed admiration and gratitude to Sen. Paul Wellstone for his report, FLAT-LINED: Veterans' Health Care and the FY 2000 Budget. Sen. Wellstone has accomplished what VVA and many others have been requesting. This report provides a consolidated, honest assessment of the devastating impact of the President's budget request.  The numbers speak for themselves, telling a story of the health and lives of disabled veterans put in jeopardy by this shameful budget. 

Duggins said, AVVA members are loudly voicing their horror that veterans health care is being slow rolled.  I hear our membership saying they believe the administration is purposefully dragging its feet.  The overall perception is that if the congressional leadership and the Administration drag their feet long enough, then the veterans will die and the problem will go away. On behalf of all of the members of Vietnam Veterans of America, I can assure you that these old soldiers will not just fade away. We will continue the struggle to ensure that veterans receive what they need. 

Duggins continued, It is time to face reality.  More and more veterans are in need of health care at the same time that costs for health care are on the rise.  The general public as well as veterans are faced with the silent epidemic caused by Hepatitis C. Detection and treatment for veterans with the virus have not been addressed.  Recent reports indicate that the Inspector General is investigating the ‘rationed health care to needy veterans' by the VA. 

Flatlining the budget means not meeting the real costs of vitally needed veterans health care.  This rationing of treatment to veterans is a recipe for failure.  America has a covenant with the men and women who served in the defense of our Nation to take care of our veterans. It is time to pay the bill. 

Duggins noted that, AVVA is grateful to Sen. Wellstone and his few staff members for providing an accurate picture of the effects of the Administration budget, something that the Executive branch, with their thousands of employees did not do. 

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VVA's point of contact for additional information is Scott D. Campbell at (202) 628- 2700 Ext.158.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is  "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."   


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