Next CVO Meeting August 15, 2018

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The next CVO meeting will be held on this Wednesday, August 15th, at 7 PM at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center at 820 S Damen in Chicago. Arrive at 6:30 to chat with Executive Committee members.

The agenda will include new information on the Jesse Brown VAMC, the Accelerator Program and the interns for CVO, Announcements of upcoming events, a report from the Veteran Affairs Committee and more.

As usual, pizza will be served. It will be hotter at 6:30 if you arrive early. Parking in the garage will be validated; get it validated at the front desk as you arrive.

See you at the meeting!

Ball, Claire

Claire Ball for Illinois Comptroller

Libertarians are known for being highly critical of government run social programs, but one thing I, and most libertarians, believe in is taking proper care of our veterans. Over the years, there have been many concerns about the quality and availability of health care through the VA. Reasons given for millions of backlogged services have ranged from bureaucratic red tape, to a shortage of physicians and administrators, to the fight over whether a medical condition is service related.

The Choice Program sought to solve this problem by allowing veterans to go through private facilities for care, as opposed to government run centers, but with strict guidelines – this option was only available for veterans living 40+ miles from a VA clinic or those waiting more than 30 days for an appointment. There were other flaws in the Choice program as well, such as veterans being met with refusal on the part of private physicians, because they were not being paid for their services. This reminds me of the budget impasse Illinois recently ended, with social service providers having to close their doors because they weren’t getting the funds needed from the state. As an accountant, I find that situation to be inexcusable. There are certain things most everyone can agree on that we want our tax dollars to fund, and veteran care is one of them. As such, it should be high in the payment priorities of the state, and the nation. In June, President Trump signed the VA Vision Bill into law in an attempt to improve upon the Choice Program, expanding those choices to all 9.1 million veterans. The National Commander of the VFW has called this new legislation “the right balance,” but only time will tell if it helps our veterans get the care they deserve.

Mandatory Funding and Payment Prioritization

There are many places to slash spending and end government handouts, but Veterans Services should not be one of them. When asked, Libertarians will tell you that Illinois does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem, and it’s no different on the national level. As Illinois Comptroller, I would prioritize payments to social services that care for those who truly need it, such as our state’s veterans homes, above special interests and pet projects. Likewise, the federal government should prioritize funding for veteran services. We should never find ourselves in the situation where insufficient, or total lack of payment for services provided by private physicians caused veterans to be turned away. We must do better, and I hope the Vision Bill will help to correct those errors. Expenditures for veteran care should always be among the top of the prioritization list, and I fully support mandatory funding of veteran services.

Privatization

Many Libertarians, including our own Governor candidate and 20-year Navy veteran Kash Jackson, have rallied under the battle cry to “privatize it!”

While Libertarians believe that the private market does the best possible job of ensuring affordable, high quality care, we also agree that it is undoubtedly Uncle Sam who should foot the bill when it comes to our nation’s veterans. The 2019 VA budget is currently estimated to be $198.6 billion and even if half of that number were used for administrative costs, it still leaves over $10,000 per veteran that could be put into an insurance pool, perhaps similar to Tricare, from which medical and dental care could be purchased through private providers. This would put some control back into the hands of our veterans by allowing them to go through other providers.

Service related health needs could continue to be covered at 100%, and this would eliminate the situation we have now, where many veterans have been forced to either go without care or to purchase private insurance on top of their VA benefits. A special prescription card could be issued to veterans in order to retain the low price the VA currently pays for prescription drugs.

This is one, of many, ideas that could increase the quality of care our veterans receive. These conversations may be difficult, especially as we understand that many in the veteran’s community are adamantly against privatizing the VA; however, it’s a conversation worth having. Our veterans put everything on the line to ensure our freedoms, and we should be willing to do everything possible to ensure the best, most affordable care possible once they come home.

Dental Care

Dental care, which I initially thought was a standard part of the healthcare package for our veterans, is limited to only a small portion of veterans, those with specific needs and backgrounds such as pow’s or those who are 100% disabled. Dental care is important for every person as, according to the Mayo Clinic, oral health is linked to endocarditis and cardiovascular disease, as well as conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Beyond that, research has shown that veterans are at a higher risk for heart disease. Oral care is important, not only for good quality of life, but to help reduce costs related to heart disease or Alzheimer’s.

In order to truly care for our veterans, access to proper dental care is not only the humane and ethical thing to do, but it’s important in regards to overall health. Sponsored by New Hampshire Representative Shea-Porter, H.R. 4556 would ensure proper dental care for all 9.1 million veterans. And while I wasn’t able to find cost estimates for this writing, you can bet I will be watching this bill closely.

CVO is 501(c)(3) organization, so we do not endorse candidates. Our request for candidate inputs will be put on our website, so that veterans can educate themselves on the candidates.

Next CVO Meeting July 18, 2018

The next meeting of CVO is this Wednesday, July 18th at 7 PM at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (820 S Damen in Chicago) in the 2nd floor Conference Room.

The agenda will include planning CVO’s direction for the coming year, an update on our Fundraising Campaign (donate here), and more.

As usual, parking in the garage will validated (get it validated on the way in) and pizza will be served.

We look forward to having you join us!

Marine vets WANT YOU to help Korean War vets

The Chicago MARINES are working with a consortium of partnered veteran organizations and in collaboration with various local community groups in Illinois to desperately locate KWV of the 1950-1953 campaign for this event.  We hope this Flyer helps remind us to our aging group of America’s Forgotten veterans that only ended the Conflict in the Korean Peninsula with the Armistice signing on July 27, 1953.

In addition Marine veterans in Illinois, is bringing needed awareness for sponsors to the new US Congressional House Bill HR-5222, awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all combat Korean War veterans, to include each of the sixteen UN-Allied member nations that sent combat troops in support to the ROK region.

Download (PDF, 337KB)

Zarnecki, Walter

Walter Zarnecki, Candidate for Cook County Commissioner, 8th District

Statement on veterans issues by
Walter Zarnecki

I am an attorney who completed my education at the John Marshall Law School. As such, I am aware that veterans with less than honorable discharges face significant discrimination when it comes to employment and other matters, with unemployment and homelessness as a result.

I would like to see Cook County adopt a Human Rights Ordinance, similar to that of Chicago, where veterans may not be discriminated against on account of discharge status.

There are job training programs for the soon-to-be-released incarcerated, and I would like to see similar programs for veterans who may have difficulty in finding meaningful careers.

Cook County must give veterans preference in hiring for county jobs. While government can not dictate hiring policies to outside companies, it should require large companies, as a condition for getting large county contracts, to have a “shall hire” provision for veterans. After all, these companies profit tremendously from these contracts, so giving job preference to veterans is only fair.

The Cook County Veterans Assistance Commission is grossly underfunded, with the amount of money per veteran far less than our neighboring counties. The amount allocated per veteran should be no less than the average of the collar counties.

The County Care program provides medical care to County residents of low financial means, regardless of citizenship status, at various County clinics. Some of these, including the large one being built in Hanson Park (part of the 8th District), have dental clinics. Cook County veterans, regardless of income, should be able to receive dental care at these clinics, if they are unable to qualify for such treatment through the Veterans Administration.

I welcome your vote in the November 6, 2018, election, so that I might be able to serve veterans of Cook County.

CVO is 501(c)(3) organization, so we do not endorse candidates. Our request for candidate inputs will be put on our website, so that veterans can educate themselves on the candidates.

Next CVO Meeting June 20, 2018

The next meeting of CVO is on Wednesday, June 20th at 7 PM at Jesse Brown VA (820 S Damen in Chicago) in the 2nd floor Conference Room.

The agenda will include an update on the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and an update on the CVO Flipcause Fundraising Campaign. We will also talk about the struggle against VA privatization.

Additionally, we will have a report on the fight for Dental Care for veterans. Attendees are encouraged to bring in any article, email, or other communication from a national veterans’ organization regarding HR 4556 on Dental Care. We need to see what other organizations are doing about this issue.

As usual, pizza will be served and parking will be validated.

Come and support CVO!