Leeches, homeopathy, or Orgone therapy? What's your pleasure...
Our maladministration continues to sh*t on our veterans (who could have guessed?) with this latest outrage (reported in the S.F. Chronicle):
Veterans not entitled to mental health care, U.S. lawyers argue
Veterans have no legal right to specific types of medical care, the Bush administration argues in a lawsuit accusing the government of illegally denying mental health treatment to some troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The arguments, filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, strike at the heart of a lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans that claims the health care system for returning troops provides little recourse when the government rejects their medical claims.
"Sure, we'll give you health care. Whatever we feel like giving you...."
A federal law providing five years of care for veterans from the date of their discharge establishes "veterans' eligibility for health care, but it does not create an entitlement to any particular medical service," government lawyers said.
"We've got extra vasectomies available, some coronary stents (double as drinking straws for the jawless), bottles of Midol, and lots of Ace bandages... What, you don't need those? Hey, we're giving you 'medical care', so kwitcherbitchin...."
They said the law entitles veterans only to "medical care which the secretary (of Veterans Affairs) determines is needed, and only to the extent funds ... are available."
Let an insurance company try that: "Sorry, no gall bladder surgery for you, we've overrun our expenses for the year...."
The argument drew a sharp retort from a lawyer for advocacy groups that sued the government in July. The suit is a proposed class action on behalf of 320,000 to 800,000 veterans or their survivors.
"Veterans need to know in this country that the government thinks all their benefits are mere gratuities," attorney Gordon Erspamer said. "They're saying it's completely discretionary, that even if Congress appropriates money for veterans' health care, we can do anything we want with it."
"... such as buying leeches."
"Nothing to see here, move along, move along...."
The suit accuses the VA of arbitrarily denying care and benefits to wounded veterans, of forcing them to wait months for treatment and years for benefits, and of failing to provide fair procedures for appealing decisions against them.
The plaintiffs say that the department has a backlog of more than 600,000 disability claims and that 120 veterans a week commit suicide.
In his Jan. 10 ruling that allowed the suit to proceed, Conti said federal law entitles veterans to health care for a specific period after leaving the service, rejecting the government's argument that it was required to provide only as much care as the VA's budget allowed in a given year. A law that President Bush signed last week extended the period from two to five years.
In its latest filing, however, the Justice Department reiterated that Congress had intended "to authorize, but not require, medical care for veterans."
They just never give up.... <*sigh*>
"This court should not interfere with the political branches' design, oversight and modification of VA programs," the government lawyers argued.
"I am in charge here" -- Al HaigRW Authoritarians from top to bottom.
I'll leave the last word to the plaintiff's attorney:
"Nowhere do I see any explanation of what kind of systems they have in place that deal with suicidal veterans," he said. "There's no excuse for not spending the money Congress told them to spend on mental health care and leaving $60 million on the table when people are going out and killing themselves."