The Month of May is Dedicated to Appreciating Our Military — Make it Meaningful by Abolishing Their VA Medical Debt

Jerry Ashton
3 min readMay 4, 2022

Before we get to the medical debt part where there are millions of dollars in medical debt on the backs of our bravest (veterans owe money for medical services?), were you even aware that May is marked officially as the month in which we honor our military?

Do you know that the month also honors VE Day? Children of Fallen Patriots Day? Silver Star Service Banner Day? Military Spouse Appreciation Day? Armed Forces Day and Gold Star Families Day? As Month of the Military Caregiver? The fifth month of the year leads the pack in featuring our armed forces.

All that attention is a good thing. Patriotic, some might say.

But when the month ends, and flags are furled and the marchers tuck their uniforms away and the flurry of activities are only a memory, questions still remain. Could we have done more as a nation than a ceremonial homage? As individuals, shouldn’t there be a better, more long-lasting way to show our care? Let’s explore the problem, and then welcome the solution.

The Public Heart Giveth — the Congressional Budget Taketh Away

One such obligation we require of our government is that of providing healthcare for our warriors. This moral and ethical standard was established by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 in his second inaugural address barely a month before he was assassinated:

“…to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan…”

Fast forward 157 years and we learn that this care is discretionary. It goes for all who are on active duty but only a percentage of those who are ex-military. As example, when a veteran makes application for VA health care (yes, they must apply), they will be assigned to one of eight priority groups to determine the level of healthcare for which they qualify and any cost to be borne.

This is where it gets sticky. Placement in these groups is based on military service history (where and when), disability rating (full or partial), income level and whether the person qualifies for Medicaid (financial). Only conditions that are caused or made worse by a person’s military service will be provided for…

Jerry Ashton

Navy Journalist veteran, co-creator of RIP Medical Debt and founder of Let’s Rethink This — here to take names and you-know-what.