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Press Release

August 25, 2009

No. 09-027

Mokie Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

Health Care Reform Hysteria:
‘Death Book’ Scare Tactics Inexcusable

(Washington, D.C.) – “Health care reform is a legitimate topic for discussion and debate,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), “but it is outrageous for some partisans to politicize the debate by targeting veterans with blatant scare tactics.

“The issue du jour is the so-called Death Book for veterans,” Rowan said. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the person who headed the office of faith-based initiatives for the Bush White House attacked ‘Your Life, Your Choices,’ a 52-page booklet of end-of-life options to be considered by veterans and their families that has been given out by the VA as per federal law.  This booklet, developed in 1997 when Bill Clinton was President, was given to veterans and their families, if requested, under a directive in 2007 from President Bush.  It was updated last month, under President Obama.

“This booklet was developed with guidance from clerics,” Rowan said, “and it addresses options most of us and our loved ones will have to sort through as we live our final years.  To play politics with veterans’ end-of-life choices is not only irresponsible politically, but it is cruel.  We agree with Congressman Joe Sestak, a retired Navy Admiral, who is outraged at the ‘Death Book’ charges and has called them ‘inexcusable.’

“It is our hope that sane minds reject fear-mongering, and that veterans recognize these scare tactics for what they are,” Rowan said.

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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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