Three paralyzed vets to press issues in D.C.

Three paralyzed veterans from the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Keystone PVA) will visit the nation’s capital in early March to speak with Congressional members and staff about the issues that most affect their health and mobility.

Christopher Fidler of Jonestown, Pa., Bill Lightner of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Mark Rosensteel of Apollo, Pa., will visit each office of the members of Congress from Pennsylvania to discuss benefits for catastrophically-disabled vets, access to Social Security benefits, application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and maintaining the Veterans Health Administration.

“The Veterans Health Administration is what VA medical facilities and personnel are parts of,” explained Keystone PVA Executive Director Joe Dornbrock.  “It is not a parallel, redundant operation but a program of specialized care for veterans that cannot be magically or inexpensively supplanted by a ‘choice card.’  Large-scale privatization would be very costly and would disrupt needed health care to many men and women who defended the nation.”  He said that Fidler, Lightner and Rosensteel would be reminding federal legislators of these facts, and will provide suggestions to improve the existing system.

Despite their paralysis, Fidler, an Army veteran, and Lightner and Rosensteel, who both served in the Air Force, will visit both Senate and House offices on either side of the Capitol.  Their visits will follow two days of meetings focusing on the details of these issues.  The meetings will be conducted by specialists in health care, government affairs, and advocacy from the national office of the Paralyzed Veterans, which is based in Washington, D.C.  Paralyzed vets from other chapters of the Paralyzed Veterans will also travel to Washington for the meetings and visits to be held 06 through 09 March.

In advance of the meetings, Paralyzed Veterans of America and its partners, the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars will present The Independent Budget to the VA and to Congress, detailing how our three organizations believe how the VA budget ought to support the health needs of eligible vets.