Republican’s War on Veterans Benefits Continues by Ben Krause Remember Michele Bachmannss attempted $4 billion cut from disabled veterans compensation? Well, theyre ba-ack Except this time they are looking to cut away at our VA healthcare. Republican Paul Ryan and the House of Representatives are looking to end VA healthcare for over 1.3 million veterans who are Priority 7 & 8. These veterans are the least disabled veterans using the system, usually with disability ratings of 0 percent or no service-connected disability. According to the Congressional Budget Office Option 35, the cuts would leave 130,000 veterans with no healthcare alternative. This means veterans with conditions not recognized by the VA, like certain diseases from Agent Orange exposure, would have to pay for healthcare out of pocket if they had not other service connected disability. Currently, the VA spends over $4 billion yearly to treat these vets, despite co-pays intended to offset the expense. Ryans cuts are intended to save $6 billion off the VAs tab and $62 billion over the next 10 years. Instead of merely increasing the co-pay or taxing Wall Street, Congress wants to just cut your benefits out, all together. Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is fighting the across the board cut because many of the veterans in question have come to rely on VA healthcare over the years. In times when healthcare costs are astronomical, these veterans will go without the care they were promised, if the proposal becomes law. DAV voiced additional concerns that this attempt is just the start of a gradual and specifically focused erosion of veterans benefits. Update: the cuts discussed above did not make the markup. Once the topic was run up the flagpole, public outcry caused the House to go back to the drawing board. Instead, the House cut spending for the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims by half of the requested funds from the White House. This court is one of the last resorts for veterans disability appeals. Meanwhile, they did allow funding for the VA to police the hand washing of its employees using RFID technology. So while veterans may not get the care they need or the disability rating they deserve, VA employees will not have pee on their hands. At least the government contractor responsible for implementing the system will get paid.