Politics 101 – An Article Written for the Veterans Reporter News – Dr. Tom Waters – VA and VA Healthcare – 2018, My Latest Update on Veteran ID Cards and the cost of VA HEALTHCARE.

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By: Thomas (Tom) Waters, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Ret), Ed.D. / twaters2015@gmail.com

PART 2 –
Veteran ID Cards:

I made the statement in an earlier article that it is a “possibility” that the delay in the Veteran ID Card was due to the Tax Bill recently signed into law. There was plausible rationale for this assumption.

In 2015, Congress ordered the VA to create the cards to make it easier for veterans to receive certain benefits such as discounts at stores and restaurants. It was delayed throughout 2017 but has found a “new life” in 2018. Here’s the latest.

Veterans can again submit online applications for new identification cards through the Department of Veterans Affairs website after the system was taken down in December following rollout problems.

The purpose of the identification cards is to help veterans prove their military history without having to carry around their DD-214 certificates, which contain sensitive information. The new IDs do not replace VA medical cards or defense retiree cards, nor do they qualify as official government-issued identification.

As of Jan. 29, the VA was processing 14,609 applications for the cards, said VA spokesman Curt Cashour. Any veteran who served in the armed forces, including in the reserves, and has an honorable or general discharge can request them.

High demand for the cards crashed a VA webpage in December, when some veterans were met with error messages or a webpage that failed to load. The VA temporarily stopped the online application process and asked veterans seeking new ID cards to leave their email addresses, stating they’d be notified when they could apply.

Now, the online application process has resumed to all veterans. Cashour said veterans are no longer being asked to leave their email addresses.

Veterans can apply at the Vets.gov website and will be asked to create an online account.

Veterans who have applied will start receiving their cards in early March, Cashour said. In the meantime, approved veterans can download an image of their IDs and print them or download them to their mobile phones. I would recommend that any Veteran that need a card to show merchants (or others) that they are really a Veteran, should apply for the card.

COSTS of Medical care:
Veterans need to know the cost of a Healthcare System and understand what Congressional members are considering.

Medical Care Significantly increases access to health care with additional discretionary funding. These Proposals include new mandatory funding for continuation of the Choice Program to provide timely care, close to home. Here are some Proposals.

§ 2018 Medical Care:
$72.3 billion (including $3.3 billion in collections), up $4.6 billion over 2017;
also requests $2.9 billion in new mandatory budget authority for the Choice Program
in 2018
§ 2019 Medical Care:
$74.0 billion for the 2019 advance appropriation (including $3.3 billion in collections), up
$1.7 billion over 2018; also requests $3.5 billion in mandatory budget authority for the Choice Program in 2019 2018 Highlights:
§ Community Care:
$9.7 billion in discretionary funding, up $2.4 billion from 2017, plus an additional
$2.9 billion in new mandatory Choice Program funding; combined with Choice Program
carryover of $626 million, provides total funding of $13.2 billion in 2018
§ Mental Health:
$8.4 billion (up $473 million from 2017) to expand Veteran inpatient, residential, and
outpatient mental health care
§ Non-Recurring Maintenance:
$1.9 billion to address medical facilities’ infrastructure deficiencies

While these are only Proposals, it gives us insight into the “thought process” of our Congressional members. It also lets us know what they are dealing with financially. Budgets are set by priorities and we need to ensure that Veteran Healthcare remain a PRIORITY.

If you missed any of my earlier articles you can go to the Veterans Reporter News webpage at <https://www.veteransreporternews.com/> to review any Back Issues.

I hear from MANY readers about my articles (most are positive) and I thank you for your positive or challenging “constructive” comments. Feel free to contact me if you believe any of the information provided is inaccurate or if you have additional information that I can share with our readers.