Parades are great, but how about we give them some health care?
Republicans sure have a lot to say about our veterans and the country's need to support them, but when it comes time to act? They filibuster
funding for an expansion of their healthcare program. They also leave 258,600 veterans
uninsured. That's how many low-income veterans don't have access to health care through the Veteran's Administration and don't have access to Medicaid because their Republican lawmakers have refused to take the Obamacare expansion.
According to a report by Pew using analysis from the Urban Institute, approximately 258,600 of those veterans are living below the poverty line in states refusing to expand Medicaid. Without veteran's benefits—and with incomes too low to qualify for subsidies to use on the state exchanges—these veterans are left without affordable coverage options.
Not all veterans can use the VA system. To be eligible, a veteran would have to have at least two continuous years of military service or have been disabled in the line of duty. Plenty more veterans don't live near enough to a VA hospital to be able to regularly get treatment there. They can be dual-eligible, getting assistance from both Medicaid and the VA, but only where Medicaid is available. And in about two dozen states, it's not.
So when the Republican noise machine gets going full blast over the VA healthcare scandal, don't forget what the larger scandal is: Republicans are denying care to hundreds of thousands of veterans out of pure political spite.