House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner

Boehner: National system could hurt VA

Medical facilities for veterans and military personnel stand to suffer if a new national health-care system becomes law, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, told The American Legion Magazine on Wednesday.

“The cost of this government takeover of health care is going to end up crowding out the rest of the budget,” Boehner said shortly after delivering a Veterans Day speech at American Legion Post 218 in Middletown, Ohio. “As a result, funding for veterans health care and DoD health care are likely to get squeezed. The money crunch that is going to come as a result of this is going to affect everything.”

By a 220-215 vote, the House passed national health-care reform legislation Nov. 8. If signed into law, it would require most Americans to carry medical insurance and provide federal subsidies for those who cannot afford it. Penalties could be imposed on those who do not have health insurance, private or government-subsidized, and insurance companies could not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or raise premiums due to medical history. The Senate is now considering the measure.

The American Legion National Executive Committee passed a resolution in October urging Congress to “ensure any legislation addressing national health-care reform contain specific language excluding health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and military retiree health care.”

During the interview, Boehner also addressed a range of issues related to veterans and national security heading into the second session of the 111th Congress. The interview is scheduled to appear in the February issue of The American Legion Magazine.