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WAR: Wounded Soldiers Forced to Pay for Meals at Vet Hospital

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posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 06:18 AM
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In another sign that the Bush administration is trying to fight the costly war in Iraq on the cheap, some injured soldiers receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are now being forced to pay for their own meals. Until January 3rd of this year, wounded veterans of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan ate for free in the hospital's chow hall, but no longer.
 



www.salon.com
Most patients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington have a lot on their minds: the war they just fought, the injuries they came home with, the future that lies ahead. The last thing a wounded soldier needs to worry about is where the next meal is coming from. But for hundreds of Walter Reed patients, that's a real concern. Starting this month, the Army has started making some wounded soldiers pay for the food they eat at the hospital.

Paying out of pocket for hospital meals can impose a serious financial burden, costing hundreds of dollars every month. That can be a lot of money to a military family. But perhaps worse, the meal charge feels like an ungrateful slap in the face to some soldiers. "I think it sucks," said a soldier from West Virginia who broke his neck in Iraq after falling off a roof. "I think that people should be able to eat. They get us over there, get us wounded and shot up and then tell us: Fend for yourself. You are all heroes, but here you go."
Whether it is the lack of protective armor for troops in the field or, now, wounded troops paying for food, complaints from soldiers have shed an unflattering light on how the military bureaucracy takes care of its troops. And they have prompted accusations that the Pentagon is fighting the Iraq war on the cheap, no matter what the cost to soldiers. The meal charge policy "is an example of a much larger problem relating to the overall cost of the war. It is all an indication of extreme costs they are trying to make up on the backs of these men and women," said Steve Robinson, a retired Army Ranger and the executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. "If the war is costing too much, the one place you don't skimp is on soldier and veteran programs. The administration has no problem deficit-spending on the needs of conducting war, and we see no reason not to apply the same methodology to veterans' benefits and soldier care."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


We as a nation are shamed by this neglect. Our soldiers are hurting, bleeding, and dying in an ill-conceived and poorly planned war on "terror," yet instead of treating them as the heroes they are, the Bush administration sees no problem with charging them for food and new uniforms while they are recovering from war-related injuries. Our men and women in uniform deserve better than to be treated as dispensable, replaceable cannon fodder.

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Military Families Forced To Buy Gear For Soldiers In Iraq
My personal War on Terrorism-an account of being in the War Zone in Iraq.




posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 06:33 AM
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Look at how things are done, sports athletes get paid millions of mega $$$
to entertain the people. However they are at little to zero risk of death, then we have our Nations Armed Forces, who put their lives on the line for the people, knowing they face an uncertain but high risk of death. Many of whom are are food stamps, granted they probably were not prior to service.

Yeah, we have priorities, right ok.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:05 AM
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I'm all for the "the government is treating our troops like crap" argument...but, well, I am wondering if some of this might not have something to do with their crazy bookkeepping system that the military uses....which I'm sorry, my son tried to explain it to me, but he lost me. Basically, they take the money from you, but then they give it back to you in your pay?? Or, they get an allottment in their pay for meals, but then they take it back when you eat. Like I said, he done lost me on it. There's quite a few military, or ex military on here. Maybe they can explain it.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:37 AM
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From the article:


From the Army's perspective, the meal charges follow Army rules that are supposed to prohibit soldiers from getting free food as well as a separate food budget. But the only soldiers prohibited from getting both, under the new rules, are the long-term outpatients....

But here's how the new rules drain hundreds of dollars a month from the pockets of soldiers: Enlisted soldiers get an extra $267.18 every month in their paychecks for food. So before this month, all soldiers at Walter Reed got free food at the chow hall and extra cash. Soldiers say they received that extra food money while they were serving in Iraq, too, and they just let their families spend it on groceries. Now, though, the outpatient soldiers forced to buy meals at Walter Reed say they could spend around $15 a day if they eat three square meals at the dining hall -- about $3 for breakfast and around $6 each for lunch and dinner. That adds up to $450 a month, $183 more than soldiers' food allowance from the military. (The situation is even worse for officers, who get only $183.99 extra each month for a food allowance.) The soldiers at Walter Reed point out that that they don't have the option of eating at home to save money because they are stuck at the hospital.


Hope that answers your question, Dawnstar. I suppose that these injured soldiers *could* bring enough food from home for three meals every day....


This situation is just ridiculous. I'm neither military nor ex-military, but it seems to me that this sort of thing would contribute to poor troop morale. Isn't that a *bad* thing?



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:40 AM
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I tend to think that combat soldiers and wounded soldiers should have everything taken care of for them after serving, that there also shouldn't be any collection of old debts on their family and that the shouldn't have to pay income tax.


Hell, they might as well also be given a small plot of land near a base to live on or sell as they choose too.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:54 AM
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The following link has an interesting piece on VA benefits. Found it a couple of days ago and thought it relevent for this thread.

www.altpr.org...



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:54 AM
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Well, considering that alot of our servicemen's children are being fed with food stamps, I don't see why they shouldn't be given the food they eat in their mess halls and cafeterias and still be given the same amount of money. I mean, it seems quit obvious that they aren't paying the entry level troops enough to support their families, since they are on food stamps. And, well, they're risking thier lives following their commander in cheif at the moment.
A nice plot of land (or the paying off of their home, tax free status, free medical, ect. would also be a nice guesture for those who are injured bad enough to effect their future prospect of employment also.

I just keep encouraging my son to save as much as he possibly can. I remind him how many in the Russian military went a long time without any pay, but were still expected to do their duty. They talk about Clinton's demoralizing the troops, but I think Bush's attitude towards them has had a worse effect. At least they weren't going AWOL on Clinton.

[edit on 27-1-2005 by dawnstar]



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:59 AM
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As a civilian military wife I was charge 25 dollars a day standard for my stay at the military hospital. I know that the military does not pay for food, because is included on the Basic housing allowances but most of that money goes for rent if you are not living in military housing.

Now that my husband is retired I still pay 25 dollars a day for hospital stay in a civilian hospital that takes the military health insurance that we have.

Now I though that do to this forced war on our troops, they were covered for everything and that the Government was taking care of their people.

But is not true, many families that their loves ones are in the national guard and reserved have it worst when it comes to expenses not covered as an active military.

Having to give up their regular jobs for a military pay for less it does make a difference and it becomes a hardship.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 08:21 AM
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The really infuriating part of all this is that it's completely unnecessary. Roll back the Bush tax cuts of the past four years, and there's your $$ to take care of our troops. This administration has really dropped the ball on this one.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 08:33 AM
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This is really infuriating.

When I was in, soldiers who lived in the barracks, single, did not get extra money for food, Just a COLA (Cost of living allowance) because we were overseas to manage with local currency. You only got food money when there was not a chowhall nearby.

And since the Commisary is not so cheap as it used to be, its even harder to support a family.

Wheres all this money going that we were supposed to have spent for the war?

Someone audit Haliburton, please.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 09:01 AM
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I just sent my Senator and Congressmen a blistering letter about this. I am retired military and this don't play well with the military community.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 09:15 AM
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Sounds a whole lot like robbing Peter to pay Paul... that's a fine how-do-you-do to those who put their lives on the line for their country.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 09:48 AM
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I totally support our president in his efforts to "cull" our weak troops out of the war, and then throw them to the wolves... afterall, they are injured... why do we still need to feed them... just trying to tow that republican line here...

(yeah...sarcastic)

for those that didn't read the other link that BRITGUY listed....
it was even worse... And this is just the begining of planned cuts.
it told of a strong republican led effort to cut even more benefits from the VA and retired servicemen... they are ACTUALLY LOBBYING FOR IT... when a soft hearted republican tries to stand up for veterans, he is quickly quieted by the hard line BUSH republicans...

well I think the democrats now have a platform and a viable Bi-partisan cause if they want to take it...

I don't think we should be handing out land and absolving taxes for our troops, because it is a job. afterall..
but the LEAST we should be obligated for is total health coverage, cheap home loans, school funding, and cheap commissary... it was the package we have offered for a long time with everyone being happy...

it is the BUSH administration that continues with drastic cuts in benefits that he critisized Clinton for begining. So if he didn't like it, WHY IS BUSH ACCELERATING IT?
One hand sure isn't seeing what the other is doing...
we need more troops, not less, and cutting benefits is a stupid move...

I have no idea what the administration is tryng to do... drive us all to the poor house with a recession, then hit us with high unemployment, then give us the one option of working for the benefits slashed military? I dont know.. but that is what is happening...



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 09:59 AM
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It looks like a cost/benefit thing. The Administration has a cynical attitude toward injured soldiers. It's costly to feed them properly or for very long. There's no benefit if they can't be sent to fight again.

This is no different than the treatment accorded Vietnam vets. Remember the government's denial of agenet orange sickness. This is more of the same kind if thing. A soldier gives up his time, family, and health, and the government says "Thank you. Have a nice Day. Good-Bye."

Bush could change it overnight. But he won't. His talk is noting but hot air and empty words. Every dollar that goes to a wounded vet can't be used to pay for heqlthy fighting men and women and may be a dollar than can't be paid to Halliburton.



drastic cuts in benefits that he critisized Clinton for begining. So if he didn't like it, WHY IS BUSH ACCELERATING IT?


Because Bush is an opportunistic liar. This is just more proof on the table. Still, all the right-wing lovers of everything Bush will find a way to excuse it, say it isn't his fault, he can't do anything about it, or even that he is doiung the right thing by allocating money where it can do the most "good" rather than feeding spent soldiers.

[edit on 1/27/2005 by dubiousone]



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by w555hc
I just sent my Senator and Congressmen a blistering letter about this. I am retired military and this don't play well with the military community.


Post a copy of your letter here, would you? I think some of us might like to forward it to OUR congresscritters!



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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The VA is a joke...My hubby is a Vet and has a disability obtained while on active duty, army, in Germany...care is terrible, now they are wanting to charge us, though very little, for medications! I have just gotten him on my health insurance so we can get away from the VA.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong

well I think the democrats now have a platform and a viable Bi-partisan cause if they want to take it...


Unfortunately, the current Dem leadership doesn't have the cojones to do anything with this.


I don't think we should be handing out land and absolving taxes for our troops, because it is a job. afterall..


Agreed, but they shouldn't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. We owe them that much, don'tcha think?



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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The medicines are supposed to be free for military families but only if the base pharmacy carry the prescriptions.

I found out for myself that most medicines are not carried by the base pharmacies and I still have to paid 9 dollars for prescriptions under our military insurance.

My husband as a retired marine can either go to a military hospital, or used the military insurance for private doctors.

So far our insurance has been very nice to us even when is military.

Now my father as a vet he never has trusted any vet hospitals so he always used private insurance.

My husband's father as a disable veteran has to depend on vet hospitals for care and he has some horror stories to tell, actually the reason he became handicap after the war it was due to surgeries perform my military hospitals to fix his arm for a period of 10 years, they never got it right in the beginning and it just got worst with each surgery until he got tired of it.

Now, if you live in the DC- Virginia area and you can get access to their main military hospitals as a vet or retiree you will be fine, they have the best doctors, but other hospitals around are nothing but a joke.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 12:21 PM
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What really chaps me is that we can instantly dig up millions for foreign aid, to assist with AIDS in Africa, more welfare and benefits for "undocumented" aliens, and tsunami "relief". But we can't seem to locate federal funds for maintaining a world-class military, securing America's borders, making real improvements to education, or modernizin infrastructure.

I do wish people woulf quit with the biased political party crap. This sort of thing does not happen without the approval of many people in government. Liberals/conservatives, republican/democrat-they all weigh in and either actively endorse such things or remain quiet so as to avoid damaging their careers. This is a Government problem, and as long as folks keep buying into the partisan name calling and finger pointing the real roots to the problem will never be addressed.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 01:02 PM
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Dont worry Byrd, I'm firing out several messages today and a few phone calls.

I find the absence of Bush defenders in this thread, deafening.




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