June 6, 2014
Jack Fanous of the GI Go Fund Joins Senators Booker and Menendez in Effort to Give Veterans Access to Private Health Care Options
Executive Director of veterans non-profit group joined U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker as they pledged support for the new bipartisan VA Reform bill, as well as a Veteran Credit Protection bill, both of which were recently introduced in the high chamber
TEANECK, NJ - The GI Go Fund has spent the last few years spearheading the effort to provide veterans greater access to health care options. They have worked with members of Congress and veterans’ advocates on the local level in an effort to give veterans the opportunity to have greater options when searching for care rather than going exclusively to the VA, which oftentimes force the veteran to travel for hours and across state lines just to see their VA doctor.
But now, as the country’s focus turns to the problems facing our veterans, our representatives from Washington are beginning to answer the call for our veterans in need.
Joined by GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker spoke at the Teaneck Armory on June 3 to highlight the new bipartisan VA Reform Bill, which would allow veterans living 40 miles away from a VA facility to obtain private health care through the VA. The bill also grants the same rights to veterans waiting too long for their care at the VA, as well as gives the Department more flexibility when seeking to remove underperforming VA staffers.
"This is exactly the type of leadership our veterans and their families deserve," said Jack Fanous, who has expressed outrage over the fact that his veteran neighbors in Burlington and Ocean county have been forced to travel long distances for their VA care. "Our men and women in uniform have been hungry for America to take notice of the challenges they face as a result of a decade of war. Whether it be the crushing burdens of financial debt that accumulate while they are deployed, or the difficulty of finding employment when they return home, or the inability to access quality health care without traveling hundreds of miles and standing in long lines, our veterans suffer from many issues that the American public is just now becoming aware of. I applaud New Jersey's Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker on their leadership today, they have been incredible advocates and friends to our military and their families and I am so thankful for their continued leadership.”
anous and his organization have been at the forefront of this issue for many years, working in several ways to bring about change to the VA system for veterans. The GI Go Fund worked with Senator Booker this past March on an amendment that would look to give veterans in South Jersey and the Jersey Shore the ability to see a private doctor. This same amendment is now part of the new VA reform bill, according to Booker. The organization has also been raising awareness nationally on this issue, educating the public about this issue through print and advertising long before the crisis at the VA ever emerged.
“I just feel that if the people in Washington had been listening to us from the beginning, we would not have had the shameful situation that emerged at the Phoenix VA and VAs throughout the country,” Fanous added.
In addition to their support for the VA reform bill, Menendez and Booker outlined the Credit Reporting Act for Military Families — a bill that would provide protections for veterans who, while deployed, miss payments and experience negative reporting from creditors.
“These young men and women are putting their lives at risk, they shouldn’t have to put their credit at risk,” said Menendez, author of the Senate legislation introduced in Congress on Thursday. The bill would require credit reporting agencies to notify active-duty service members and their families before any credit or utility service account falls into delinquency or goes into collections. Booker, a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, called the legislation essential and common sense.
“The last few weeks, it’s been made clear that we have a long way to go to make good on the promise we made to all of our veterans,” Booker said.
The Senators will work hard to ensure the Credit Act is passed. As for the VA Reform Bill, Senator Menendez remarked that he expected the legislation to “move quickly” through Congress.