America's Neglected Veterans: 1.7 Million Who Served Have No Health Coverage
Many U.S. military veterans lack health insurance and are ineligible for care in Veterans Administration health care facilities. Using two recently released national government surveys--the 2004 Current Population Survey and the 2002 National Health Interview Survey--the authors examined how many veterans are uninsured (lacking health insurance coverage and not receiving care from the VA) and whether uninsured veterans have problems in access to care. In 2003, 1.69 million military veterans neither had health insurance nor received ongoing care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals or clinics; the number of uninsured veterans increased by 235,159 since 2000. The proportion of nonelderly veterans who were uninsured rose from 9.9 percent in 2000 to 11.9 percent in 2003. An additional 3.90 million members of veterans' households were also uninsured and ineligible for VHA care. Medicare covered virtually all Korean War and World War II veterans, but 681,808 Vietnam-era veterans were uninsured (8.7 percent of the 7.85 million Vietnam-era vets). Among the 8.27 million veterans who served during "other eras" (including the Persian Gulf War), 12.1 percent (999,548) lacked health coverage. A disturbingly high number of veterans reported problems in obtaining needed medical care. By almost any measure, uninsured veterans had as much trouble getting medical care as other uninsured persons. Thus millions of U.S. veterans and their family members are uninsured and face grave difficulties in gaining access to even the most basic medical care.
- "" For noncareer veterans , the VHA operates a complicated system of eligibility requirements to stay within its annual capped budget. Although this budget and the number of enrollees have increased considerably over the last decade, 1.7 million veterans were estimated to be without either any other form of insurance or health care from the VHA, and 3.9 million members of veterans' families had no health insurance and were ineligible for VHA care (Woolhandler et al.: 2005). Medicaid also performs badly for this criterion: 13.7 million or 37 percent of nonelderly persons defined as poor had no health insurance in 2002, and 12.3 million or 28 percent of near-poor persons were in the same position (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured 2004). "
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ABSTRACT: This article examines the meaning of federalism for health care financing (HCF) and is based on two considerations. First, federal institutions are embedded in their national context and interact with them. The design and performance of HCF policy will be influenced by contexts, the workings of the federal institutions, and the interactions of these institutions with different elements of the context. This article unravels these influences. Second, there is no unique model of federalism, and so we have to specify the particular form to which we refer. The examination of the influence of federalism and its context on HCF policy is facilitated by using a transnational comparative approach, and this article examines four mature federations: the United States, Australia, Canada, and Germany. The relatively poor performance of the U.S. HCF system seems associated with the fact that it operates in a context markedly less benign than those of the other national HCF systems. Heterogeneity of context appears also to have contributed to important differences between the United States and the other countries in the design of HCF policies. An analysis of how federalism works in practice suggests that, while U.S. federalism may be overall less favorable to the development of well-functioning HCF policies, the inferior performance of these policies is to be principally attributed to context.
Available from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to: (1) examine veteran reliance on health services provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VA), (2) describe the characteristics of veterans who receive VA care, and (3) report rates of uninsurance among veterans and characteristics of uninsured veterans.
The authors analyzed data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Using bivariate and multivariate analyses, the association of veteran's demographic characteristics, health insurance coverage, and use of VA services were examined. Veterans not reporting VA coverage and having no other source of health insurance were considered uninsured.
Among veteran respondents, 6.2% reported receiving all of their health care at the VA, 6.9% reported receiving some of their health care at the VA, and 86.9% did not use VA health care. Poor, less-educated, and minority veterans were more likely to receive all of their health care at the VA. Veterans younger than age 65 who utilized the VA for all of their health care also reported coverage with either private insurance (42.6%) or Medicare (36.3%). Of the veterans younger than age 65, 8.6% (population estimate: 1.3 million individuals) were uninsured. Uninsured veterans were less likely to be able to afford a doctor or see a doctor within the last year.
Veterans who utilized the VA for all of their health care were more likely to be from disadvantaged groups. A large number of veterans who could use VA services were uninsured. They should be targeted for VA enrollment given the detrimental clinical effects of being uninsured.
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