President's Letter

           
The VA MISSION Act – Why you need MOAA. The VA MISSION was passed overwhelmingly by the Senate in May, and signed into law by the President on June 6.  The legislation, “establishes a process to review and develop a plan to optimize and modernize VA medical care facilities where there is demand.”  A key aspect of the bill was to prevent the potential gap in the VA Choice program, outlining $5B of the $51B bill for the VA Choice program. This amount would sustain the VA Choice program for approximately one year.   With Sequestration looming it appears lawmakers did not consider the increased costs associated with the VA MISSION Act when setting discretionary funding levels for FY19 and beyond.  When the bill passed with the support of 38 veteran’s service organizations (VSOs), Senator McConnell stated, It’s not merely our duty, but our privilege to improve and enhance the care available to those who have given so much.”  However, reports indicate that there are serious problems actually paying for this reform bill.  While Congress has agreed to fund the bill for the next year, they could not agree to fund the bill beyond May of next year.  This is why you need MOAA.  MOAA is working with 30 national military and VSOs to petition the Senate to support the “Complete the Mission” amendment.  This amendment, “allows Congress to provide sufficient funds without triggering sequestration or requiring cuts to other VA health care programs.”   MOAA President and CEO Lt Gen Atkins captured the situation best stating, “there is a developing trend of robbing Peter to pay for Paul that we unfortunately are seeing far too often as we work new legislation.”  If we veterans at the local level don’t like getting involved, or actively supporting MOAA’s efforts to compel Congress to pass legislation favorable to veterans, we will like it even less, when we lose the benefits of programs like VA Choice and the initiatives set forth in the VA MISSION act. Isn’t it time to get more actively involved?
 
El Paso MOAA.  MOAA National announced on 2 August that the El Paso Chapter of MOAA has once again won the Five Star Level of Excellence award.  Congratulations to the members of the Board  of Directors on another year of superior effort and outstanding commitment to our veterans and active duty service members.   I want to extend a special thank you to BG Jack Kotter and LTC Bill Moore for their tremendous collaboration in operationalizing the MOAA Outreach 501c3 Foundation, and bringing the program to life.  Well done!
 
  Two quick reminders:  September 28/29 marks the annual Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD) activities, and your El Paso MOAA Chapter will host the 2018 Retiree Appreciation Dinner on 28 September.  Additionally, the Chapter will hold Board of Director elections in November for the 2019 Board of Directors.  New board members will be sworn in at the December luncheon.  If you are interested in participating in a position on the board please let one of the board members know. 
 
What more can you do?
 
A.  Stay Informed.  Track MOAA’s Top Ten Goals and track MOAA’s continuous efforts to support all veterans of all grades, across all services, and their family members.
 
B.  Get involved:  (1) Communicate directly with your political representatives; and (2) Become a MOAA Member and speak with one voice.  Join now by visiting www.elpasomoaa.org.  
 
 “Professional Leaders belong to Professional Organizations.”  Become part of the solution.  Join MOAA. 
 
“Never Stop Serving"
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Forrest Smith
Colonel, United States Army, Retired
President - 2018





2017 Communications Award