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Letter to the Editor: Affordable health care is a must for vets

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Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans face many challenges as they try to transition to civilian life.

They're more likely to be unemployed, and many of them suffer from significant physical or mental challenges that make it tough to apply for jobs. Roughly half have applied for some sort of disability, and as your (Jan. 11) article makes clear, they need access to affordable, effective health care.

But the massive budget cuts now being considered by Congress include a proposal to triple veterans' health care premiums. If you're an unemployed veteran suffering from PTSD, affordable health care could make the difference between controlling your anxiety and getting a job or ending up homeless.

There are certainly other programs the Pentagon could cut to reach the budget-cutting targets.

The biggest defense program in history is the Joint Strike Fighter, estimated at a whopping $1.45 trillion after running 75 percent over its budget. Trimming the JSF by just a third could relieve much of the pressure to cut veterans programs.

If leaders in Washington really support our troops and veterans, they should do all they can to keep veterans' health care affordable. 

Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa
U.S. Air Force, retired
Colchester, VT