IMMEDIATE RELEASE





Press Release

February 18, 2004

No. 04-018


Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000
Ext. 146


PARTNERSHIP KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN
FOR VETERANS HEALTH CARE BUDGET REFORM

Text of Press Conference

(Washington, D.C.) – In his statement kicking off the campaign to replace the current discretionary method of funding the VA's medical operations with a mandatory model, Thomas H. Corey, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), underscored the need to fix a broken system.

"We're here today, the commanders, presidents, or executive directors of nine major veterans service organizations, to launch a campaign to fix the manner in which the veterans health care system is funded," Corey said. "The current method of discretionary funding for the medical operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs is broken. The VA has to compete with dozens of other programs for a sliver of a shrinking discretionary pie. This puts veterans at risk. This is wrong.

"We believe the VA health care system warrants a predictable funding stream to care for those who have borne the battle. We believe that a new model of mandatory funding, with checks and balances to ensure managerial accountability, will provide what the system needs and what veterans deserve," Corey said. Such a model would be based on the per capita use of the VA system, indexed annually for medical inflation.

VVA is one of nine VSOs who have come together "with one voice to make a case for the change the veterans health care system so desperately need," Corey said. Those in attendance at the press briefing, which was held today at the National Press Club, were Robert Spanogle, national adjutant of The American Legion; Jim King, executive director of American Veterans (AMVETS); Thomas Miller, executive director of Blinded Veterans Association (BVA); Alan W. Bowers, national commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV); Mike Marcus, public affairs director of Jewish War Veterans of the USA; Hershel Gober, national legislative director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart; Delatorro L. McNeal, executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA); and Dennis Cullinan, director, Legislative Services, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated 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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