Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn't Free

09 February 2015

Back to the Chow Hall

   The Clay Hunt SAV Act has passed and, some breaking news here, the president will sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law at a public ceremony in the East Room on Thursday.  To all of those who called/emailed all the politicians, to everyone that called into a radio talk show or wrote a letter to the editor to talk about the Clay Hunt bill, I salute you.  This will help to alleviate the epidemic that is Veteran suicide by making care easier to obtain at the VA or even on the web.  Like I say about my blog posts, if it saves one Veteran, it has done its job. And, we will be able to tell if its working because another part of Clay Hunt SAV calls for monitoring and reviewing the VA's efforts in suicide prevention.  It should also help to bring more qualified doctors to the VA by offering partial student loan repayment for doctors that join the VA.  Hopefully that part of Clay Hunt SAV will alleviate the backlog that is still plaguing the VA to this day. 

   Of course, the battle is won, but the war rages on when you talk about Veteran suicide, Veteran homelessness, and, overall, the VA.  The scandal is not over.  All over the country there is still a backlog on both medical and financial claims for the VA.  Although several senators are currently working on an update of a bill to monitor and help reduce further the claims backlog, another bill that was passed and signed into law by Pres. Obama, is currently on the chopping block in the 2016 Federal budget.
   The Veterans Choice Program is under the budget ax wielded by the President.  In his 2016 fiscal budget, he wants to "reallocate" some of the $10 million put into the Choice Card program last year.  VA Sec. Robert McDonald defends the cuts and even claims responsibility for the reallocation of funds.  In the Washington Times article it is stated that many politicians in Congress have problems with the "cuts". 
    The overall budget for the VA has increased and provides more money for, among other things, traditional "brick & mortar" VA centers, mental health treatment, and "telehealth"technologies, possibly to be used for Veterans who are already using the Choice Card. 
   Overall, the Choice card program has its flaws.  There is more red tape involved in the program than trying to get a drone for Jordan to fight ISIS.  And that's just one of the flaws.  Of course, red tape is usually an added bonus when it comes to governmental programs.  To read another example how red tape is clogging up the VA's arteries read this blog post from A Vet With PTSD.   
   In the House of Representatives, a bill that would help the VA get back bonuses and other monetary awards to VA employees is stalled.  Remember, this is a republican controlled house.  Yet, House Resolution 280 has only been introduced.  A couple of weeks ago from the date this post will be published.  It has been attacked as being a "union busting" bill by some democrats.  Well, if they aren't doing their job, the VA employees shouldn't be getting bonuses.  That's my opinion.  Its also my opinion that if they don't do their job they should be fired or sent to work in the middle east or any country that ends in -stan.  Once again, just my opinion.


   A local branch of the Friends of the Forgotten is working to memorialize the residents of Lackawanna County who died while fighting the Korean War. They're working with Marywood University and are still in need of funding for the project, which is slated for its debut the Saturday after Memorial Day 2015. 

   Also, the Friends of Connors Park in Scranton, PA is going to be unveiling a Veterans Monument on Memorial Day this year.  To raise funds they are conducting a paver program where you memorialize a Veteran in a walkway that will lead to the monument.

   Finally, June is PTSD Awareness month.  I want to really get the word out about PTSD and the treatments that are (and aren't) being used by the VA to treat PTSD.  If you have any ideas (I've already got some) please let me know by shooting me an email at  
   I will share my ideas as soon as I can concrete them a little bit more. 

   If you are a Veteran in a bad place, please remember to take The Spartan Pledge.  And if you know a Veteran is in crisis please call the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 or you can text them by texting 838255.  You can reach them on computer by going to the Veterans Crisis Line.
That is all.


Thanks to Times Warner Cable News, Politics PA, The Washington Times, The Military Times, Stars & Stripes, PA Homepage for their informative articles. 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Soldier. I hope ClayHunt will be a great benefit right from the start. Especially appreciate the monitoring and review provisions.

    Thank you for all you're doing. I'll try and keep thinking of something for June, but you know I'll help regardless with any ideas others come up with.