Pentagon Proposes $2.2 Billion In Cuts That Could Gut Military Health Care
Defense Secretary Mike Esper's budget-slashing efforts put health care services provided to veterans and active service members in the crosshairs. And an internal Pentagon report finds that not enough mental health care is being provided to its troops.
Esper Eyes $2.2 Billion Cut To Military Health Care
Pentagon officials working on Defense Secretary Mark Esper's cost-cutting review of the department have proposed slashing military health care by $2.2 billion, a reduction that some defense officials say could effectively gut the Pentagon’s health care system during a nationwide pandemic. The proposed cut to the military health system over the next five years is part of a sweeping effort Esper initiated last year to eliminate inefficiencies within the Pentagon’s coffers. But two senior defense officials say the effort has been rushed and driven by an arbitrary cost-savings goal, and argue that the cuts to the system will imperil the health care of millions of military personnel and their families as the nation grapples with Covid-19. (Seligman and Diamond, 8/16)
Stars and Stripes:
Pentagon Watchdog Finds Military Mental Health System Is Not Meeting The Needs Of Troops And Families
Thousands of troops and family members may not have access to the mental health care they need through their military or approved civilian health providers, a new Pentagon report says. (Svan, 8/14)
US Reps Eye Mental Health Telemedicine For Rural Veterans
A Maine congressman is working across the aisle with a Republican from Indiana on a proposal that would create mental health telemedicine services for veterans in rural parts of the country. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, is working on the proposal with Rep. Jim Banks. Their bill would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to create programs at three VA facilities that use computerized cognitive behavioral therapy to treat veterans who suffer from conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. (8/16)
In other news from the Trump administration —
Trump Makes Call For New White House Doctor's Virus Advice
President Donald Trump has found a new doctor for his coronavirus task force — and this time there’s no daylight between them. Trump last week announced that Dr. Scott Atlas, a frequent guest on Fox News Channel, has joined the White House as a pandemic adviser. Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, has no expertise in public health or infectious diseases. (Colvin, 8/16)
Trump's Top Coronavirus Adviser: Wear Masks, Social Distance
Trump’s top coronavirus adviser used a visit to Kansas to urge people to wear masks regardless of where they live. “What’s really important for every Kansan to understand is that this epidemic that we have been seeing this summer is both urban and rural,” Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force said Saturday. “So we are really asking all communities, whether you are urban or rural communities, to really wear a mask inside, outside, every day.” (8/15)
Fauci Dismisses Tucker Carlson's Criticism But Says It May Inspire Threats From 'Crazies'
Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci in a new interview Friday dismissed recent criticism from Fox News's Tucker Carlson, but said it could inspire more death threats against him. “I flip around the channels at night, which I probably shouldn’t. And I found this guy — you know this guy, Tucker Carlson? You heard of him?” The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers asked Fauci in an online interview that streamed live. “He’s the guy that really loves me, right?” Fauci replied sarcastically. (Seipel, 8/14)