Monday, November 12, 2007

Support the Troops: Will we back up the bumper stickers?

The Nobel Peace Prize winning group Physicians for Social Responsibility has recently released a study estimating that healthcare for Iraq veterans could top $650 billion.

The study, entitled “Shock and Awe Hits Home,” estimates that the long-term financial burden to care for a new generation of veterans will far outstrip the amount of money spent on combat operations in Iraq.

From the Boston Globe:
"Providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans will cost far more than is generally being acknowledged," according to the study, overseen by Dr. Evan Kanter, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Washington and a staff physician for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"As physicians and healthcare professionals, we are acutely aware of the actual price we are paying in human terms, and we are compelled to bring this to the attention of the Congress and the American people," the report added.

The estimate was derived by analyzing the current costs of treating debilitating health problems of troops in Iraq, including blast injuries to arms and legs from improvised explosive devices; the historically high instances of traumatic brain injuries; and post-traumatic stress disorder, which the VA believes affects at least one-third of soldiers serving there.

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