Friday, March 20, 2009

President Barack Obama, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki at VA this week

The President speaks at the Department of Veterans Affairs
(President Barack Obama speaks Monday, March 16, 2009 at the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Conference Room at the Department of Veterans Affairs to 70 seated guests and a group of 150 watching from the balcony. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, whom President Obama praised for his distinguised career in the Army and his service to men and women in uniform, listens to the President's remarks, at left. White House Photo/Chuck Kennedy) 
 Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

A 21st Century Department of Veterans Affairs

Today President Obama helped mark the 20th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Cabinet-level agency with remarks in Washington, DC.
The President paid tribute to this department, which was formed in its first incarnation over 70 years ago under President Herbert Hoover, and today stands as the second-largest of the 15 Cabinet departments, by pointing to the original vision of Abraham Lincoln "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan."
In recalling his grandfather's service in Patton's army, President Obama expressed his profound gratitude to our nation's service members on behalf of the entire nation:
And I think about my grandfather whenever I have the privilege of meeting the young men and women who serve in our military today. They are our best and brightest, and they're our bravest -- enlisting in a time of war; enduring tour after tour of duty; serving with honor under the most difficult circumstances; and making sacrifices that many of us cannot begin to imagine. The same can be said of their families. As my wife, Michelle, has seen firsthand during visits to military bases across this country, we don't just deploy our troops in a time of war -- we deploy their families, too.
The President also expressed full support of Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, who is one of our nation's finest veterans -- having served a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army. Under the leadership of Secretary Shinseki the Department of Veterans Affairs will be transformed for the 21st century. 
Over the next five years, the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs will increase byover $25 billion (pdf). These funds will be used to expand the VA health care program so that in can serve an additional 500,000 veterans by 2013; to implement a GI Bill for the 21st century; to provide better health care; and to dramatically improve services related to mental health and injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The funds will also be used for technology that will ease the transition from active duty to home for our nation's service members. (((  Since this announcement he has much improved on even this. )))
For the entire Administration, the 20th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is a reminder of our debt of honor to the men of women who have fought to defend our freedom and for all involved it is an honor to undergo the work of transforming the Department for the 21st century.


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1 comment:

Abbe Buck, Public Relations / Public Affairs / Needs Analysis said...

American Legion Commander Praises Obama’s Change in Plan

WASHINGTON (March 18, 2009) – The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization applauded President Obama for dropping his plan to bill private insurance companies for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries.

“We are glad that President Obama listened to the strong objections raised by The American Legion and veterans everywhere about this unfair plan,” said National Commander David K Rehbein of The American Legion. “We thank the administration for its proposed increase in the VA budget and we are always available to assist by providing guidance to ensure a veterans health care system that is worthy of the heroes that use it.”

Following a meeting this afternoon with The American Legion and other veterans service organizations, the White House announced that it will no longer considering billing insurance companies or veterans for their service-connected disabilities.

“Although we disagreed with the proposal, additional revenue streams are needed by VA,” Rehbein said. “I strongly encourage Congress and the administration to allow VA to begin billing Medicare for the treatment of Medicare-eligible nonservice-connected veterans. They paid into Medicare for their entire working careers and should be able to use it in the medical system that was built specifically for them.”

With a current membership of 2.6 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and the mentoring of youth. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.

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Media contacts: Craig Roberts,(202) 263-2982, Cell (202) 406-0887 or Joe March, (317) 630-1253; Cell (317) 748-1926.

A high resolution photo of Nat. Cmdr. Rehbein is available at