29 January 2010

Who's caring for our wounded veterans?

ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff and hs wife Lee talk about the issue of caretaking after his traumatic brain injury resulting from an IED explosion that injured him while he was reporting in Iraq in 2006.

That short interview only touches on the issues some military families face.

Now I urge you to watch the PBS documentary called "Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?" , which tells the stories of three families who have literally sacrificed everything to care for their severely wounded family members.

Both houses of Congress have passed bills to provide assistance to caregivers. In July of 2009, the House passed H.R. 3155: Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act. And on November 19, 2009 the Senate passed S.1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009.

There are substantial differences between the two bills, and Senate and House veterans’ leaders now must come to agreement on caregiver-assistance legislation.

Some veterans advocacy groups maintain that only about 200 caregivers of OEF/OIF-era wounded warriors would get real help under the House caregiver bill, HR 3155 - far fewer than those who would get that help under the Senate bill. Others say the Senate bill is too expansive, also covering other issues not directly related to caregiver assistance.

I have gotten to the point where I have become ambivalent as to which bill is passed - as long as support is provided to the caregivers of our severely wounded warriors SOON.

The families in the documentary had the option of putting their loved ones into nursing homes which wound have been paid for, but where their condition would have undoubtedly deteriorated. Instead, they have taken it upon themselves to provide qualtiy care to their loved ones - our wounded warriors.

Following on the example of the sacrifices their warriors made for our country, these families are now making their own. It's time for us to step up and provide financial compensation for their work. These families have already given enough. Please contact your congressional representatives and urge passage of either bill.

The PBS documentary "Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?" can be watched here.

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