September 29, 2005
Jemarion Jones
(202) 639-6405

AFGE Set to Debut "Protecting the VA" Television Infomercial

(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a national labor union that represents 185,000 men and women of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will debut its new television infomercial, “Protecting the VA,” in select media markets starting in early October. The 30-minute program will focus on the high quality of care VA medical centers deliver to our nation’s veterans and how that care is now being compromised by budget cuts, funding shortfalls and chronic staffing shortages.

“Protecting the VA” is scheduled to air Saturday, Oct. 8 at 9 a.m. on WDRL-TV (UPN affiliate) in Roanoke, Va. In mid-October, the program will hit the airwaves in Fayetteville, N.C. Local television stations throughout the country will air the program in the coming months.

Over the past decade, the VA health care system has transformed itself from one of the most criticized into a system that the Washington Post recently lauded as a “model” for Medicare and other private health plans in several areas including diabetes care, high blood pressure management and caring for heart attack patients.

Despite the transformation, the VA health care system still has dire funding needs. To make matters worse, the administration is still attempting to gut the VA health care budget by pushing for legislation that will allow the VA to conduct expensive contracting out studies that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and outsource the jobs of thousands of veterans.

“We produced ‘Protecting the VA’ because people need to know that a publicly-funded health care system that is doing great work is in danger of collapse if it doesn’t get the proper funding,” says AFGE National President John Gage.

“Protecting the VA,” which was produced with assistance from AFGE’s National VA Council (NVAC) President Alma Lee, features interviews with AFGE representatives including John Gage, National Vice President Jane Nygaard, NVAC Vice President J. David Cox and AFGE Local 1633 President Anthony McCray. Additionally, other interviewees include veterans, academics, VA medical personnel and notable personalities such as Rocky Blier, Super Bowl All-Pro running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Vietnam combat veteran. Throughout the program, these individuals address the challenges facing the VA and articulate why it is critical that the VA receive proper funding.

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