(WASHINGTON) - The American Federation of Government Employees today launched a nationwide radio ad campaign urging Congress to provide full, mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In the ad (attached), AFGE urges presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to support full funding for the VA.
“As the nation’s highest profile veteran and a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator McCain now is in a position to do something that will have long range impact on the health care of his fellow veterans,” said AFGE President John Gage. “AFGE strongly feels that recent proposals by Senator McCain are misguided,” he added.
In February, Sen. McCain told press in New Hampshire that he plans to offer veterans vouchers to receive care at private for-profit healthcare facilities. That move, according to AFGE, would be tantamount to dismantling the current Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA), which is widely regarded as the nation’s foremost medical health care system.
The ad features veteran and AFGE member Phil Glover who expresses concerns about the McCain voucher plan calling it a means of privatizing veterans’ health care and undermining the solvency of the VA. Referring the McCain’s voucher plan, Glover says, “That would be the end of the VA – the end of the promise and the start of a huge boondoggle for big corporations.”
“While it has been argued that the VA has not been responsive to the growing needs of burgeoning veterans’ population, many of the short falls can be directly attributed to a lack of funding,” said J. David Cox, AFGE national secretary-treasurer who is also a former VA nurse. “Vouchers could cripple the system by diverting much needed funds away from veterans’ health care. We urge all members of Congress to support full, mandatory funding for the VA. But, because of his political stature we are especially targeting Sen. McCain.”
The radio ads start airing this week in North Carolina, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia and Pennsylvania. For more information, go to www.fundtheva.com or www.afge.org.