Several of the largest veterans' service organizations in the US are criticizing a proposal drafted in secret to shut down veterans' hospitals and clinics across the country and turn over veterans health care to the private sector.
The proposal was circulated outside the normal process by several members of a congressionally mandated Commission on Care created to study how VA will provide health care over the next couple of decades.
"We are greatly alarmed by the content of the 'proposed straw man document' that was developed and drafted outside the open Commission process by seven ... of the fifteen members -- without the input or even knowledge of the other Commissioners," states the letter to the panel's chairwoman, Nancy Schlichting.
It was signed by the heads of Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
The 34-page proposal would privatize veterans' health care and completely eliminate the Veterans Affairs Department health care facilities over the next 20 years, they said.
The proposal also calls for an immediate halt to new VA construction and for a "BRAC-like process" to begin shuttering existing hospitals and clinics, referring to the Pentagon's base realignment and closure process. The department's future role would essentially be to pay the bills of veterans getting care in the private sector.