New Lawsuit Could Mean Reimbursements for up to 700,000 Veterans
The National Veterans Legal Services Program has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Veteran Affairs or VA. This lawsuit, if successful, would make it possible for about 700,000 veterans to receive reimbursements on unpaid emergency medical bills.
This case comes after eight years of fighting between veterans and the VA over who is responsible for paying for veterans’ emergency medical care. It also follows the federal ruling in august that allows, for the first time, veterans to file a lawsuit against the VA as a class instead of as individuals.
According to Military Times, this is not the first time that the National Veterans Legal Services Program has sued the Department of Veterans Affairs over a violation of the Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2010. The first time happened when Air Force veteran Richard Staab underwent emergency heart surgery and was left with $48,000 of unpaid medical debt because the VA refused to pay. They refused to pay because his secondary insurance footed part of the bill. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the VA, in this case, forcing them to cover the emergency costs. The VA responded by complying with the decision but, retaliated with a new rule that said they would only cover limited costs.
The NVLSP say this is not enough and that many veterans are being refused coverage of reasonable costs by the department.
Veteran Homelessness Down 5% Since Last Year
According to Military Times, the number of homeless veterans in the United States has dropped by 5% since last year. Now, it is estimated that about 38,000 veterans across the country do not have stable housing on any given night. In 2010 the number of homeless veterans was about double what it is now.
“Our nation’s approach to veterans’ homelessness is working,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told reporters. “Nationally we see declines in the number of sheltered and unsheltered veterans … To date, 64 local communities and three states have effectively ended veterans homelessness.”
Ben Carson credits the majority of improvements to different initiatives begun under Barack Obama’s Presidency. But, despite the news, there is still much work to be done before veterans homelessness is completely eradicated.
The full estimate can be found on HUD’s website.
Huge Restoration Project Closes Air Force Landmark
The landmark Cadet Chapel at the Air Force Academy, a triangular shaped building that is 150 feet tall has leaked since it was first built, with the academy saying that all the old repairs to the building have failed. But, beginning on January 1, the chapel will be closed for up to four years to undergo new restorations.
The Air Force Times says that the restoration project is going to cost anywhere between $58 million and $68 million. Included in the restoration project are the replacing of the aluminum skin that wraps the chapel, the removal, and cleaning of 24,000 stained-glass tiles, the addition of a water barrier, and stiffening of the steel structure.
President Trump Wants to End Birthright Citizenship
During an interview with Axios, President Donald Trump stated that he was getting ready to pass an executive order that would get rid of birthright citizenship in the United States. During this interview he also made the false claim that the U.S. is the only country in the world with birthright citizenship, but, there are at least 30 other countries in the world that do so including Canada and Mexico.
This idea was met with critics from both sides of politics. Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right Under Law said in a statement: “aside from being unconstitutional, such an executive order would exacerbate racial tensions, exploit fears and drive further polarization across the country at a moment that calls for the promotion of unity and inclusion… The letter and spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment place those born in this country on equal footing, and an executive order that strips away citizenship would create a permanent group of second-class citizens and invite litigation.”
According to the New York Times, republican candidates also voiced their thoughts on the matter. Bob Hugin, a Republican candidate for Senator in New Jersey tweeted “ The President is wrong to end #BirthrightCitizenship. We’re a nation of immigrants made better by the diversity of its people, especially in NJ. We need compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform now.”
Update From the Border: 15,000 Troops?
President Donald Trump now says that he will be sending up to 15,000 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico Border. This is how many troops are deployed in Afghanistan. There are 2,100 National Guard Forces present on the border and another 2,000 to 3,000 ready for the order to deploy. If this is to happen it wowould make this the largest border deployment in American history. –Military Times