Our beginning: HR 2528

Where Did My Brain Go? is beginning by investigating military funding for the care and treatment of veterans with a TBI. I am trying to figure out why politicians, especially Presidential candidates, are jumping on the signature injury bandwagon.

The TBI funding disaster began on May 26, 2005. The House voted down an amendment to HR 2528, by a vote of 214-213, for $30 million in health care benefits to wounded veterans, including prosthesis research.

One item on the final version was increased. “Grants for Construction of State Extended Care Facilities” was raised from $25,000,000 to $85,000,000.

Other items fell by the wayside. Notably an additional $10 million for the Veterans’ Readjustment Counseling Service. How could anyone vote against that?

“Vocational Rehabilitation” is a big help for anyone with a TBI. The final version of this bill said:

Loans up to $948.54 were available to “service connected disabled persons enrolled in a vocational rehabilitation program.”

What does that buy? One credit at The University of Phoenix, an online college, costs $295.

Where did the rest of the money go? My favorites:

  1. “Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction, Army”
    $1,400,827,000 For expenses, not otherwise provided for, necessary for the destruction of the United States stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions.
  2. “Iraq Freedom Fund”
    For an additional amount for “Iraq Freedom Fund” $4,658,686,000, to remain available for transfer until September 30, 2007, only to support operations in Iraq or Afghanistan and classified activities: Provided, That the Secretary of Defense may transfer the funds provided herein to appropriations for military personnel; operation and maintenance; Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid; procurement; research, development, test and evaluation; and working capital funds: Provided further, That of the amounts provided under this heading, $3,048,686,000 shall only be for classified programs, described in further detail in the classified annex accompanying this Act:

Three billion dollars and we are not allowed to know where it was spent! Now you know why Bush & Cheney like this war so much!

In October 2005, the Veteran’s Administration reported that 119,247 of the 433,398 military personnel who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan had requested medical treatment. Out of the 119,247, 30.9%, about 36,847, said they had “mental problems.”

I was unable to find specific numbers for TBI. In 2004, the Veteran’s Administration received funds to establish three Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Units and conducted a study to choose optimal locations for them. I was unable to find information that more units were created.

President Bush signed the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2006 on November 30, 2005.

The next installment of this disability debacle will discuss the pittance that remained to treat traumatic brain injuries.