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  • Advocacy groups split over proposed Tricare reforms

    Patricia Kime | Military Times

    Military advocacy groups showed a mixed reaction Wednesday to a plan to overhaul the Tricare health program, with some expressing conditional support for proposed reform and one pitching its own plan.

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    Benefits
    DoD
    Legislation
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  • VA: Choice program isn't being ditched

    Leo Shane III | Military Times

    Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is promising Congress that his department is not trying to dismantle the new Choice Card program.

    But lawmakers remain skeptical.

    On Thursday, McDonald testified before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee about VA's fiscal 2016 budget request, which includes plans to ask for "flexibility" to shift money designated for the Choice Card program to other areas if usage of the card doesn't pick up.

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    VA
  • The Veterans Independence Act: Giving Vets A Way Out Of Socialized Medicine

    Avik Roy | Forbes

    Few Americans who read a newspaper didn’t hear about last year’s Veterans Health Administration scandal, in which VA officials manipulated patient waiting lists in order to deny care to ailing veterans. I observed at the time that the VA’s brand of government-run medicine was far worse than Obamacare. And I questioned why lawmakers hadn’t done more to reform veterans’ health care.

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    Mental Health
    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • Three Military Bases to Train Veterans for Solar Jobs

    The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS

    WASHINGTON — The first class of Marine trainees at Camp Pendleton have graduated from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) solar job training pilot program, which is aimed at preparing service members for careers in the solar industry as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related jobs. Camp Pendleton is one of three military bases partnering with DOE’s SunShot Initiative to train 200 transitioning military service members during the pilot period for employment in the U.S. solar industry.

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    DoD
    Employment
    Transition
  • Troubling trio—depression, PTSD, mild traumatic brain injury—linked to extra-high disability risk

    VA

    Many among the newest war Veterans, like those before them, are struggling with a web of invisible wounds—beyond the physical scars of combat. Now, a VA research team in Boston has identified a particular combination of mental and behavioral conditions that appears to confer an extra-high risk of disability.

    The study involved 255 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. They all completed a World Health Organization disability scale that rates difficulty in getting around, communicating and getting along with others, self-care, and other daily tasks.

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    Mental Health
    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • Senators urge VA chief to fix ‘choice card’ woes

    Martin Matishak | The Hill

    A bipartisan coalition of 41 senators is pressing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to remedy the implementation of a program that allows veterans to seek private medical care.

    The effort, often called the "choice card," allows veterans to seek medical care at non-VA providers, if they live more than 40 miles from an agency facility or if they cannot get a doctor’s appointment within 30 days.

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    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • Tricare proposal splits veterans' groups

    Martin Matishak | The Hill

    The leaders of several prominent veterans’ and uniformed services’ organizations are split over a proposal to effectively abolish Tricare, the military’s health insurance plan.

    The proposal, one of 15 recommendations put forward by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, has become a flashpoint on Capitol Hill.

    The suggested change would allow nearly 5 million active-duty family members, reserve soldiers and military retirees who are not yet old enough to receive Medicare, to leave the Tricare system and sign up for a private insurance plan.

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    DoD
    Legislation
    Physical Well-Being
  • Top enlisted personnel: Protect family programs

    Patricia Kime | Military Times

    Service families are well cared for in today's military but face increasing stress amid discussions on altering benefits like health care and family programs, the services' top enlisted members told Congress on Wednesday.

    With the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission proposing sweeping reforms to military pay and benefits packages and the White House's proposed 2016 budget pitching cost-savings measures like health care fee hikes and commissary cutbacks, the men implored Congress to protect family benefits.

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    Benefits
    DoD
    Family
  • Nonprofit releases guidebook to help veterans find the right college

    Jeremy Quach | The Stanford Daily

    Service to School, a nonprofit organization made up of veterans — some of them current Stanford students — has released a free guidebook to help undergraduate veterans find the right college.

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    Education
  • Caregivers converge to push for expanded benefits

    Leo Shane III | Military Times

    Donna Barton doesn't know exactly how much money she has saved the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it's in the tens of millions of dollars.

    "It could be in the billions by now," the 65-year-old registered nurse said, laughing. "When you take in all the services I've provided for free for decades … there's just so much involved."

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    Caregivers

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