Hello, VA Hospital System? Ensure EVERY day is a Veteran’s Day by Forgiving Unpaid and Unpayable Medical Debt!

Jerry Ashton
3 min readNov 11, 2021
Mikel Burroughs of RIP Medical Debt and Jerry Ashton Founder

You Can Do It. Let’s Talk!

For years now I have personally attempted to catch your attention to this need, and for years now I have yet to be successful. That’s going to change. I am going to enlist help.

Here’s why that help will be easy to secure for this project: a wrong needs to be righted. People with a service background are eager to right those wrongs. Millions of Americans who prize the military and their sacrifices are interested in righting wrongs.

Here’s a partial list of those wrongs — each of them with healthcare debt at their core:

1. Nonprofit and private hospitals are required to follow federal and state charity laws and write off the bad debt of the qualified poor.

2. Federal facilities instead must take “prompt and aggressive action” to settle all debts. Charity laws do not apply.

3. Once a debt is transferred to the U.S. Treasury for collection, VA hospitals are unlikely to interfere with their collection process.

4. Treasury can: (a) withhold wages; (b) attach tax refunds and 15% of a person’s social security income without a court order.

5. Unpaid balances are subject to interest payments, administrative fees and other penalties.

6. The VA generally will not pay a health bill generated at a civilian facility, unless the veteran is more than 50 percent disabled or the offsite visit was for an illness that is service related.

7. Other vets without insurance may end up with big bills if their illness is not service-related. Their private insurance may require them first to meet a deductible or pay coinsurance — and the VA does not reimburse for those expenses.

8. The only way to get “free” healthcare from the VA is if you have an injury or disability caused by their military service and is severe enough to rate you 50% disabled. Oh, and there is an income verification process.

9. VA health coverage isn’t set in stone and isn’t the same for every vet.

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Jerry Ashton

Navy Journalist veteran, co-founder and founder of the charities RIP Medical Debt and End Veteran Debt — co-creator of Let's Rethink This and "Impact Awareness"