Tuesday, June 12, 2007

VA Abandons Friend, Veteran - Needs Help, Insurance

By now you know that except for the tastiest of intermittent morsels, I don't do much writing about my personal life. The antics and idiocy of our political and religious leaders offers more than enough potato gun fodder for the masses to consider.

However, today I write about a friend of mine, a veteran of the Gulf War. Because of bureaucracy, he may lose his legs. Allow the letter I've written to my members of congress speak for itself:
Dear -----,

A very close friend of mine is a Veteran of the Gulf War. One day soon, he will need to have his legs amputated because Veteran's Affairs has abandoned him under a blanket of bureaucratic nonsense.

David was honorably discharged from Little Creek Amphibious base in 1998. He later married, had a son, and maintained a lucrative union manufacturing job. At the time that he held that position, the rules governing Veteran's eligibility were changing. In order for someone to get medical coverage, they had to register to be grandfathered in. Having excellent union insurance coverage for his family, David did not register. Soon thereafter, he unexpectedly began experiencing back pain. After a few treatments, the doctors said he could not work, and now he takes care of his son full time at home. In a shady move, his insurance company held on to a check until the coverage lapsed, sent it back, and canceled his insurance.

David's back is tolerable right now thanks to the treatments he did receive. However, David is also diabetic. With a house, bills, and insurance for herself and their son, David's wife is barely able to make ends meet. Adding him to her insurance would would be a preexisting condition, and would be excessively expensive because of it. Independent insurance is cost prohibitive. Purchasing any medication without insurance is laughable. Were David to get a job, it would barely be able to cover the cost of daycare for their son. Back to the plant could put him in a wheelchair.

But that's what he's looking at anyway. Without insurance, David cannot afford the testing supplies and medication necessary to control his diabetes. A couple months ago, blood began to pool in his legs due to poor circulation. Amputation is not far down the road. David gets the same answer from the VA: he is not eligible for any coverage because his wife makes too much money. I do not know the math behind this decision, but I do know what his wife makes.

I'm not asking for a handout for my friend;I am asking for his due. David honorably served our country during wartime. He has just about lost hope that anything can be done.

When did we stop taking care of our own?

You can keep a father, a veteran, my friend, your constituent, out of a wheelchair. Won't you?

See letter online (http://utteroutrage.blogspot.com/2007/06/va-abandons-friend-veteran-needs-help.html).

Thank you for your time.

Ricky Shambles
I am in the unique position as of now to be able to write 4 Senators and three members of congress with residences in two states (FYI, writing a senator or member of congress is sometimes made impossible unless you are a constituent).

As I said in the letter, I'm not looking for a handout. But I am looking for publicity. If you'd like to write your representative about my friend, I'd appreciate it. If you do, please comment about your experience below.

Members of Congress I have written with the above letter:
Senator Elizabeth Dole
Senator Richard Burr
Representative Mel Watt
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator George Voinovich
Representative Jean Schmidt
Representative Dennis Kucinich (c/o relatives)

Thank you all.

1 comment:

Annick said...

Thanks for writing this.