First of all only a scant few of these Veterans groups will acknowledge the "promise" of free health care; for the most part these groups will tout the benefits already promised by the Veterans Administration and assert that cuts in these benefits are the same a broken promise-or contractual breach in legal terms. The idea of the United States military making a "promise" or forging a legally binding agreement between individual veterans or groups of veterans is barred by the United States Constitution. As will be demonstrated in the Literature Review, specific Constitutional language from Article I give Congress and only Congress the express authority to make laws and regulations pertaining to the armed forces. Therefore, the idea the military breached a contract with service members is, ultimately, inherently inaccurate. Combining the lack of specific language within the materials provided by any governmental agency with the clear language of the Constitution, it becomes readily apparent that there is no validity to the claim of the Government breaking any contractual relationship with veterans, either individually or collectively.
Some of these groups are also fraudulently acting on behalf of veterans-although the data suggests that the overwhelming amount of such groups are legitimate and are pursuing legitimate causes; however the need for examining these fraudulent groups is imperative for a comprehensive analysis. The most recent example of a fraudulent veterans group is seen in the case of the United States Naval Veterans Association -- a group that raised upwards of $40,000 this past fiscal year in donations (Birkey, 2010). The lynchpin, however, is that the group is a fraud. No money has ever gone to one veteran, hospital, charity, clinic or center. In total, nearly $100,000 in fraudulently obtained donations went into the pocket of the group's founder Robert Thompson (Birkey, 2010).
Groups such as this are at the root cause of the problem when it comes to veteran's advocacy groups, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the legitimate, and cause oriented group and those who are only after the innocent donations of Naval Veterans. Focusing on the legitimate veterans groups brings the nature and complexity of this issue into stark reality. One such group referred to as "The Retired Military Advocate" goes into great detail as to the nature of the promises that have been broken between the military and the veteran.
On their website, the group states the following:
"The breaking of the military retiree medical care promise:
In the process of down sizing the United States Military, a large number of military bases and military treatment facilities have been closed. This has created a situation where inadequate space is available to accommodate the military retiree community. As a result, the medical care that was promised to the military retiree is being denied by the United States Government." (2010).
Language such as this begins to lay out the nature of the problem. There are those whether they be individuals or groups that continue to think the closure of various VA facilities and the inability to service all veterans who seek "free" health care is a breach of the promises that Congress and the Department of Defense has made to veterans and retirees. Where do these individuals and groups ascertain the information necessary to formulate the attitude that a promise was conveyed in the first place? The answer to this question requires a bit of historical purview. This purview is also stated on "The Retired Military Advocate" website. The group states the following:
"In November of 1951, because of the military draft, I had to make a choice. I could volunteer to join or be drafted into the military. At that time I did talk to a military recruiter and I volunteered to join the military. I was told by the military recruiter that medical care would be provided for me and my wife while I was on active duty, and medical care after retirement was mentioned. I was very interested in the immediate medical care since I could not afford insurance based on what I would be paid. In November of 1951 I was not concerned about medical care after retirement because I had no interest in a military career, but because of later promises I changed my mind" (2010).
This text is the relaying of an experience by a member of the group detailing their experience as a young, eager recruit who was informed of the prospect of medical care after service. Again what is not mentioned in any of this language is that the medical care will be "free" and be provided "on-demand." This is further evidence that supports the premise the Government has indeed fulfilled its promise to its veterans and retirees. How can this research conclusively prove the premise, that seems so readily apparent, that the United States Government has kept its promise, did not breach any contracts with veterans?
This question will be answered by the use of statistical analysis and integration of predictive models to demonstrate the causal relationship between various variables. Through the use of advanced
Quantitative methodology techniques, the data compiled from a variety of government and Veterans Affairs databases will be used to compare and establish both positive and negative correlated relationships. This analysis will examine the data stemming from the Veterans Administration's facilities in what is defined as the Western Region of the United States, consisting of Montana, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. These states will provide the data to construct a predictive model for the level of care, quality of care and the relationship between these data points and the degree of severity of the physical, mental, psychological and behavioral disorders that are plaguing veterans.
There will be a variety of statistical tests that will be utilized to determine the very nature of the relationships and whether the data is correlated or suffers from a high degree of variations which in turn will increase the margin of error. These tests include the Linear Regression Model, Chi-Square and ANOVA Tests. The formulas for each of these tests are presented in the Methodology Chapter. The predefined level for determining significance of these tests is .05, this indicates that if any of the critical test statistics are greater than .05 then the results are statistically significant and based on a viable relationship and not random chance.
Through the analysis of the raw data and the incorporation of a variety of statistical analytics it will be determined that there is no validity to the hypothesis that over the years the Government has broken any promise to any military retiree; furthermore, it will be shown through data examination that the enormous amount of patients and cases that are diagnosed is indicative of the ever present, cognizant relationship the government has with the veterans of the armed forces.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
There are numerous theories that are present within the body of literature that discusses the current status of military benefits directed toward military retirees. However, many of these theories deal with the issue itself at a more detailed, policy orientated vantage point. Therefore, the main theory that is at hand within this literature review is the military has kept its promise to military veterans and military retirees in terms of benefits that have been promised. This literature review will examine the massive body of work that revolves around this theory to create a framework that substantiates the main premise of this research: the government has honored its commitment to military retirees in providing the vital benefits they deserve and were guaranteed.
Each year hundreds of veterans and military retirees' claim they experience a continuing decline in their military medical benefits and further assert the governments' promise of guaranteed health coverage and physician access has been violated. They generally use as precedents that medical care that is previously available to them is no longer present. A contention, they claim, that substantiates their premise that the "promise" made to them by the Federal Government has indeed been broken. Another common argument is that the larger medical institutions that existed during the Cold War provided more access to health care and medical services.
These individuals assert that the regular cuts exacted upon the Department of Defense and the resulting reduction in size of the Defense Department is the core reason for the reduction in military benefits for veterans. The coalescent of these events have lead to the popular uprising of groups that portend to work for veterans under the auspices of "broken promises" that seek to reclaim those benefits the government "promised" but fail to deliver. In certain instances, organizations representing military retirees have alluded to "broken promises." Some individuals have claimed that these benefits include "free" health care for life, or more liberally, "free care for life in military health care facilities." As emotional as these contentions are, the body of literature shows these arguments are not supported by…