Originally created 07/11/98

Defends medical care for veterans 071198 - The Augusta Chronicle



I am writing in response to a July 5 letter written by Richard Hogue concerning the U.S. Senate plan, backed by Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., to allow veterans to purchase Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) coverage.

I felt Mr. Hogue's letter missed the fundamental point about veterans' medical benefits. In exchange for 20 years of service, veterans were promised free health care for life. The Senate plan requires veterans to purchase insurance. Sen. Coverdell and his colleagues have apparently forgotten that America's veterans have already paid for their health care with decades of service and sacrifice.

Many of the veterans that I meet with feel that being given the opportunity to purchase FEHPB insurance is yet another slap in the face. As Mr. Hogue points out, "veterans don't just believe they were promised health care for their years of hazardous service, they know the promises were made." The true solution would be to have the federal government honor its commitment to veterans by delivering the lifelong health care that was promised them.

Michael J. Coles, Atlanta

(Editor's note: The writer is a Democratic candidate for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat.)