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Veterans' Health Care Policy Enhancement Act of 2008

Location: Washington, DC

VETERANS' HEALTH CARE POLICY ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 31, 2008)

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2008

* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation, which will bar the collection of co-payments from veterans for hospital and nursing home care if the veteran is considered catastrophically disabled. I strongly advocate a noninterventionist foreign policy that would result in far fewer wars and, thankfully, far fewer catastrophically disabled veterans. But I also strongly believe that we must take care of those veterans who have been so severely wounded or otherwise disabled. Too often those who are most vocal in support of foreign military action are most silent when it comes time to take care of those who have paid a very high price for these actions. This legislation will provide at least a little relief to the most seriously injured veterans.

* I am concerned, however, that this bill incorporates language from H.R. 6114, which rescinds a current law requirement that the VA obtain a signed consent form from a veteran before conducting an HIV test. We have seen veterans punished severely for attempting to avoid the required but controversial myriad of inoculations they are required to receive. Now we see that they will have less control over what medical tests to which they might be subjected. I am concerned over this loss of control over one's healthcare decisions among those who voluntarily join the military, and I urge the adoption of a more flexible policy. I would also urge my colleagues and the American people to contemplate this deprivation of medical and privacy rights on a massive scale should we ever reinstate the draft. I believe taking care of veterans should include both providing promised benefits and protecting their privacy rights.

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