Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sick and Forgotten

Previously posted was how the US treats its loyal ex-servants in the military at Homes Fit For Heroes .

But it doesn't stop at lack of homes . 1.8 million veterans or 12.7 percent of non-elderly veterans had no health insurance in 2004, up 290,000 since 2000, a study found.

Of the 1.768 million uninsured, 645,628 were Vietnam-era veterans while 1,105,891 were veterans who served during other eras including the Iraq and Gulf Wars. Of the medical uninsured veterans, 56.5 percent were older than 44.

More than 26 percent of uninsured veterans reported that they had failed to get needed care due to costs; 31.2 percent had delayed care due to costs; 49 percent had not seen a doctor within the past year; and two-thirds failed to receive preventive care.

Nearly two-thirds of uninsured veterans were employed. The report states that many uninsured veterans are barred from VA care because of a 2003 Bush Administration order that halted enrollment of most middle income veterans.

“Since President Bush took office the number of uninsured vets has skyrocketed, and he’s cut eligibility, barring hundreds of thousands of veterans from care,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, co-author of the study and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. “This administration has put troops in harm’s way overseas and abandoned them and their families once they got home.”

Is it no wonder then that the US military is experiencing a "suicide epidemic" with veterans killing themselves at the rate of 120 a week, according to an investigation .

At least 6256 US veterans committed suicide in 2005 - an average of 17 a day , with veterans overall more than twice as likely to take their own lives as the rest of the general population.

While the suicide rate among the general population was 8.9 per 100,000, the level among veterans was between 18.7 and 20.8 per 100,000. That figure rose to 22.9 to 31.9 suicides per 100,000 among veterans aged 20 to 24 - almost four times the non-veteran average for the age group.

"Those numbers clearly show an epidemic of mental health problems,'' veterans' rights advocate Paul Sullivan said .

There are 25 million veterans in the United States, 1.6 million of whom served in Afghanistan and Iraq . Having served the interests of US capital they are discarded .

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