Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Long PTSD road may have gotten shorter.

Last week there was a very significant change in how the government is going to respond to soldiers who claim to be suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Regardless of your political leanings, this is an action that has needed to happen for a long-time and should be applauded. Previously, soldiers had to provide details of a specific event(s) which lead to PTSD, and without this documentation, were not able to receive the full benefit of treatment. Under the rule change, soldiers now just have to be diagnosed with PTSD, without providing documentation of an actual event on the battlefield that caused the condition. One of the concerns raised was the increased cost of treating additional patients along with the increased chance of fraud. Surprisingly, there are still members of Congress who have found a way to oppose this:
At a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee hearing Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colorado Spring) said “he was concerned that changing the combat veteran definition could result in a reduction of benefits overall, and that ‘too loose’ a definition could diminish the sacrifices of those ‘who actually did engage in battle with the enemy,’”
Rep. Lamborn's position is a sad example of putting politics before people. For him to say that "the sacrifices of those ‘who actually did engage in battle with the enemy"" would be diminished, is a slap in the face to all the service men and women who have fought for his freedom to say stupid stuff. Our soldiers serve our country with honor and dignity, and considering many are risking their lives daily, don't we owe them the respect to assume they will conduct the rest of their lives with honor and dignity.

I am not so naive as to believe every future claim of PTSD is going to be legitimate, but I am going to suppose nearly all of them will be warranted. If 99 people are able to get the help they need, and 1 person is out to "game the system" isn't that still worth the cost in the end, even if that ratio goes down to 90% or 80% people helped, that benefit is still worth the cost.

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