FEDS OUTSOURCE VET BENEFIT PROCESSING TO PHILIPPINES — DAILY CALLER Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials are outsourcing healthcare paperwork for American veterans to low-paid workers in the Philippines, a nation where the minimum wage is a dollar a day. Long ago, VA opened a facility in Manila to care for Filipino World War II veterans who fought alongside the U.S. military against the Japanese — the Philippines was a U.S. territory until 1946. But most of those veterans are now dead, and the Philippines has its own government agency to care for those who are still alive. Uncle Sam is better at opening offices than closing them, so the 100-employee office in Manila — the VA’s only foreign outpost — remains open for business.
PERSIAN GULF VETERANS STILL FIGHTING FOR PROPER HEALTH CARE 25 YEARS AFTER WAR — ARMY TIMES Retired Marine Capt. David Winnett is grateful for his Tricare health program, which keeps him from having to go to the Veterans Affairs Department to treat his Gulf War-related illnesses. At the VA, says the moderator of the 10,003-member Facebook group Gulf War Illnesses, veterans often are sent to mental health providers when they show up with symptoms considered classic of Gulf War illness, such as gastrointestinal dysfunction, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, profound fatigue and cognitive issues.
SURPEME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS ON VETERANS BENEFITS, EXCLUSIONARY RULE — JURIST The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Monday on small business owners’ veterans benefits and the suppression of evidence under the exclusionary rule. Kingdomware Technologies v. United States [transcript, PDF] deals with the rights of small-business-owning veterans to receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [official website]. In 2006 Congress passed a bill that states the VA “shall” award contracts to veteran-owned small businesses if at least two such businesses bid on the work at a fair price. The question before the court is if the term “shall,” as used in the legislation, requires the VA to award the contracts to the veteran-owned business, or if that decision is discretionary. Kingdomware [corporate website], an information technology firm owned by service-disabled Army veteran Timothy Barton, argues that the VA has an obligation to seek veteran-owned businesses, while the VA rebuts that it need only consider them in the scope of what is best to achieve its business goals.
To “The Veteran’s Voice“.