Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Privatizing the VA?

I get fantastic treatment from the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system.  It's been about three years that I've been getting free and excellent full health care coverage from the VA.  My only complaint is that every American citizen should be getting this same kind of care.  Call it what you want - single-payer or Medicare for all - everyone deserves it.

But the corporate health insurance industry sees the VA as a threat and an opportunity.  If they could privatize the VA system then massive amounts of federal tax dollars could be shifted into corporate coffers.  With Trump in the White House, and Republicans controlling Congress, it appears as though they are going to attempt to do just that.

I got a message this morning from the Veterans For Peace Smedley Butler Brigade in the Boston, Massachusetts area requesting the assistance of veterans in Maine to contact our Republican Sen. Susan Collins to urge her not to support the privatization of the VA system.  The newly elected coordinator of the Smedley VFP chapter is Dan Luker and he wrote:

We are working on efforts to stop privatization of the VA Healthcare system and cuts to Medicaid both of which greatly affect our brothers and sisters who have served in the military along with their families.  It is being talked about that the Republicans are going to take a stealth vote on the ACA, and Medicaid before Congress recesses.  There may be language in there about the VA system too.  From what I understand they are a few votes away and your Senator Collins may be instrumental in defeating the bill.  We have a committee at the Smedleys working on this issue.  We have one member in particular  Bob Master who is with a national organization called Community Catalyst that is working very hard with the Senate in getting this defeated.  Bob was a front line field doctor with the 101st airborne div. in Vietnam, and has been instrumental since the 70s in forming alliance with providers, community groups and governmental agencies to develop a care delivery system for low income communities to improve lives. He and his wife Susan have also been out to Standing Rock twice.  He may need to contact you and get information and your support on this vital issue for vets. 

Thank you for your help on this,


I immediately forwarded Dan's message to Maine VFP leadership and sent a personal message to Sen. Collins on this important issue.  If you'd like to write her as well and tell her to leave the VA alone you can do so here.



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