I would like to apologize for the incorrect cut-off date in my last blog entry. I got my information from www.military.com, a usually reliable source of information about the military, the VA, and other related topics. They had an article regarding the latest defense appropriations bill provisions, and I either misread the date or it was wrong at the time. The site has been updated.
Unfortunately, although I got the date wrong, the cut-off is real. It happened back on January 17, 2003. This is the VA's latest missive on the restriction. Please note, however, that this restriction applies to Category 8 veterans only as I stated in my original post. http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/EnrollmentRestriction/EnrollmentRestriction.pdf
For a complete description of eligibility groups: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/EPG/EnrollmentPriorityGroups.pdf
Group 8: Veterans who agree to pay specified copay with income and/or net worth above VA Means Test threshold and the Geographic Means Test Threshold.
Subpriority a: Noncompensable 0% service-connected veterans enrolled as of January 16, 2003 and who have remained enrolled since that date
Subpriority c: Nonservice-connected veterans enrolled as of January 16, 2003 and who have remained enrolled since that date
Subpriority e*: Noncompensable 0% service-connected veterans applying for enrollment after January 16, 2003
Subpriority g*: Nonservice-connected veterans applying for enrollment after January 16, 2003
The "net worth" link is broken at the VA site and everywhere else I tried to access it. However, for 2007, a single veteran's income threshold is about $27,500. The "Geographic Means Test" is for certain areas (like Hawaii, Guam, Washington DC and other areas where the cost of living is much higher than the rest of the country)
Veterans falling into the restricted category are those with a * - in other words, they will be turned away if they try to access health care through the VA.
A report presented to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs in January 2006 stated that at least 260,000 veterans had been turned away from VA facilities as a result of this restriction. It was also noted that the actual number may be even higher since a lot of veterans were discouraged from even attempting to apply. http://veterans.house.gov/democratic/press/109th/1-24-06prio8.htm
Some of my original points still stand - why are veterans who were promised health care now suddenly not eligible? The obvious answer is the Bush Administration's cost-cutting on everything and anything to pay for the Iraq mess. And the fact that they absolutely abhor the very idea of the "government" doing anything for "the people".
And - lastly, a lot of veterans who fall into this category 8 served time overseas, although not "recently", and possibly make just a little more money than the income threshold - but not enough to be able to afford health insurance or their jobs don't provide health insurance. I got signed up before the cut-off so I'm good to go for the rest of my life. But someone just like me who missed the deadline is completely out of luck. What's fair about that?
So again, I will try to do more research before posting next time, and thanks for your understanding and support.