Health-care reform questions answered

Peter Gaytan, executive director of The American Legion's Washington office, was a featured guest March 27 on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" news program. For the first 10 minutes, host Pedro Echevarria asked Gaytan questions about the impact of health-care reform legislation on veterans. Gaytan then answered questions from callers.

Gaytan told Echevarria that The American Legion works closely with Congress on veterans' health-care issues, including TRICARE (DoD's contracted health-care benefits program for servicemembers, military retirees, and their families.) He allayed fears that veterans and their spouses might lose their TRICARE coverage as the result of health-care reform, and said the Legion is working to make the program even more attractive to physicians and other private health-care providers.

Veterans from across America called in to discuss several issues with Gaytan, including the VA disability claims backlog and the overall quality of VA health care. He said VA's patient load was increasing, and The American Legion's "System Worth Saving" program is making sure that all veterans continue to receive high-quality health care from VA.

While some callers gave high marks to VA, one caller complained that he had to wait up to six hours to be seen by a VA doctor. Gaytan urged him and other veterans with similar problems to contact American Legion service officers in their states, who could assist them.

Responding to another caller's mental-health concerns, Gaytan said DoD needs to collaborate more closely with VA in treating PTSD and other mental-health issues among veterans, because these problems also have serious effects on spouses and children.

Gaytan's appearance on "Washington Journal" is available for viewing at C-SPAN's Web site. The Gaytan segment begins at approximately the 2:19:00 mark.


  1. You chose to retire outside the U.S. There are consequences to those decisions. FMP isn't a basic preventative health care service. If you want that- you are free to buy your own health insurance. FMP is specifically to provide for treatments required as medically necessary for the treatment of a VA rated service-connected condition. Period. You are asking if the new health care mandates will cover you after you chose to live outside the U.S. The answer is no. The new law covers those U.S. Citizens who live IN the U.S., and requires you to purchase private insurance through a State run exchange, if you have no other insurance. It doesn't provide anything for free. FMP isn't insurance. VA Health Care is available to those veterans who qualify. I suggest if you wish something more, you lobby your Congressman to extend coverage, and buy your own insurance. Or ask the country where you are now to allow you to join their health system.
  2. I just sat though your self gloating interview on C-span and I don't belive you for one second contact me and prove what you have stated on C-Span (my FMP VA benifits are sub par to say the least) and any guarantee that you have to keep it that way is just selling us Veterans down the river. What do you mean when you say are VA health care will meet the new standard it currently doesn't meet the standard you would give a dog how will it get any better in the future.
  3. No one seams to care or speak about all us veterans who get substandard care under the FMP. Will this bill now require FMP to give us basic preventative health care that is required for all U.S. citizens under this new bill or do we get stuck under the VA living worse than dogs under their FMP. Basic health care is something we have been denied since retiring overseas even though health care cost less were I live than if I was in the US under Tricare.
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