Improving Veterans’ Health Through Information and Advocacy
Adopted as amended
WHEREAS, all Veterans of the United States Military, the citizen soldiers of our communities, provided a unique and vital service to the nation as a whole in the preservation of freedom and liberty enjoyed by all who reside within our borders; and
WHEREAS, one of the most essential and fundamental obligations of our government is to provide for and guarantee the health care of those who defend and preserve it against its enemies; and
WHEREAS, African-Americans and other minority veterans of color, many of whom are Veterans or family members of Veterans, are among the most uninsured people in America, have more health problems, die younger, and are often systematically denied the same level of services and benefits as their White counterparts; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has determined that certain illnesses have been associated with military service; and that the recent and ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan has produced increased numbers of seriously injured Veterans with brain injuries, lost of limbs, mental and post traumatic stress disorders, diseases, diabetes, and prostrate cancers; and
WHEREAS, some of the long-term health conditions — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that may manifest years later, as well as a host of health conditions that are presumed by the VA to have derived from one's military service--are often not connected by the veterans to their time in uniform--and often not until it's too late; and
WHEREAS, the VA, by any standard, does an entirely inadequate job of reaching out to Veterans and their families to inform them of the benefits to which they are entitled and the health conditions that may derive from their time in service; and
WHEREAS, almost 80 percent of Veterans do not use the VA for their health care; and for those that have private health insurance for themselves and their families, many are only a paycheck or two away from losing it; and
WHEREAS, many of the members of the NAACP are Veterans or have family members who are Veterans; and
WHEREAS, the Vietnam Veterans of America has created a Veterans' Health Council to improve health care for veterans by creating an ongoing forum via its website, www.veteranshealth.org for veterans and their families, as well as for members of the medical and clinical professions, employee representatives, healthcare firms, and advocacy organizations like the NAACP, to discuss, develop, and promote effective efforts to reach out to Veterans and their families to inform them about health risks related to their military service and the healthcare available to them.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that all Armed Forces and Veterans' Affairs standing committees starting in the month of November 2010 will begin a campaign to inform their members, sponsors, and affiliates that the Veterans Health Council website provides information on health conditions associated with military service and provides links to healthcare sites related to specific diseases; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP join with the Veterans' Health Council to reach out to hundreds of thousands of veterans who otherwise might not know that the disease that is plaguing them and eating away at their savings may be associated with their service in any war, conflict or peace keeping mission of the United States of America and that they may be eligible for treatment, disability compensation and pension as well as other benefits from the Veterans Administration.