Veterans Outraged as VA Assists ICE with Healthcare Claims

Skylar Hawthorne

Updated Monday, February 19, 2024 at 6:24 AM CDT

Veterans Outraged as VA Assists ICE with Healthcare Claims

Veterans Mark Geist and Shelby Anderson recently voiced their indignation on 'Fox & Friends First' over the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assisting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with healthcare claims for illegal immigrants. This collaboration has contributed to an alarming backlog of healthcare claims for U.S. veterans, raising questions about resource allocation and priorities.

The VA's Financial Service Center (VA-FSC) has an interagency agreement in place with ICE's Health Service Corps (IHSC) dating back to 2002, which involves processing reimbursements to private healthcare providers when illegal immigrants in ICE custody require specialized or emergency care. While the VA does not directly provide or fund this healthcare, the growing number of migrants at the border has led to an increase in medical claims. This surge in claims has exacerbated the veterans' backlog, resulting in some veterans mistakenly receiving bills and community care providers facing delayed payments.

As of September 2023, the backlog of healthcare claims for veterans stands at nearly 318,221. Senator Steve Daines of Montana has been vocal in criticizing the administration for diverting VA resources to process claims for illegal immigrants, highlighting the long wait times veterans face for their own healthcare needs.

Members of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, including GOP Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, have also expressed their disapproval. Blackburn has sought answers from VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a letter, questioning the VA's role in providing healthcare to illegal immigrants and the procedures for verifying veteran citizenship status. Tuberville went further, introducing the No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act alongside Representative Mike Bost, aiming to prevent VA funds from being used for illegal immigrants' healthcare.

The Department of Homeland Security reported that in the fiscal year 2022, ICE spent over $373.5 million on healthcare for detained noncitizens, a figure that raises concerns about the allocation of government resources.

The controversy arrives as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer encourages the passing of a foreign aid bill following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The Senate had previously approved a $95 billion national security supplemental bill, which includes significant support for Ukraine amidst its conflict with Russia and aid for Israel.

President Joe Biden has drawn a connection between Ukraine's military situation and Congress' failure to pass additional aid, criticizing House lawmakers for their recess during the crisis. The Senate's $12 billion aid package for Ukraine includes substantial military and budgetary support, as well as assistance for Indo-Pacific regional partners.

With the 2024 elections on the horizon, political tensions are high. Senator Jon Tester, who faces a challenging re-election, has not publicly commented on the VA's assistance to ICE. Tester has supported President Biden's border security efforts and criticized colleagues for opposing a spending package that included border security funding. The package failed in a tight vote, with only four Republican Senators in favor.

South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump, has declined to engage in hypotheticals about the 2020 election certification during an interview with Jake Tapper. Scott, who voted to certify the 2020 election results, has consistently affirmed that Vice President Mike Pence acted appropriately in doing so.

The political landscape continues to be shaped by these complex issues, with healthcare for veterans, foreign aid, and election integrity at the forefront of national discourse.

Conservative Bias:

Folks, what we're seeing here is a disgraceful and unpatriotic misuse of the resources meant for our brave veterans, who have sacrificed everything for our freedom. The liberal bureaucrats have the audacity to prioritize illegal aliens over our own American heroes. It's clear as day that the Democrats' open-border policies have led to this surge of freeloaders, overwhelming our systems and stealing the care rightfully owed to our veterans. This is nothing short of a betrayal by the left, who would rather serve those who flout our laws than those who defend them. And while they're at it, they're throwing money at foreign countries instead of taking care of business at home. It's an outrage, a scandal, and a slap in the face to every red-blooded American veteran out there!

Liberal Bias:

This is yet another manufactured crisis by the right-wing to distract from their own failures in governance. The real scandal here is the underfunding and mismanagement of the VA by conservative politicians who only pay lip service to our veterans. They're stirring up xenophobic sentiments by blaming immigrants for their own refusal to properly fund and reform veteran healthcare. And let's not forget, these are the same conservatives who have no problem pouring endless funds into military interventions abroad but can't seem to find the resources for the resulting veterans' care. It's the height of hypocrisy. They're quick to send our men and women into harm's way but abandon them once they return home, all while scapegoating the vulnerable to cover their tracks. Shameful!

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