American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein responded to President Obama's urgent call for national health-care reform by urging Congress to leave VA and DoD health-care systems alone. Obama addressed the nation July 22 on America's need to improve the way it delivers medical services to its citizens. "While The American Legion appreciates the complexity of the health-care reform challenge facing the President and Congress, on behalf of our nation's 26 million veterans and the nearly two million personnel now on active duty, we urge Congress to ensure that veterans and military health care not be part of any national health-care bill. They should be exempt in the legislation. "Our nation must maintain its long-standing tradition that veterans and military health-care systems will remain independent and focused on our most deserving citizens," he said. Noting that The American Legion has a proud tradition of securing and preserving the earned benefits of America's veterans, Rehbein said that "Ensuring timely access to quality health-care for today's military and veterans is of paramount concern. These are the citizens who have borne our battles in previous wars as they still are in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have earned our care the hard way. We, as a nation, have an obligation to ensure that their health-care is not compromised," he said.