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Army Vet Billed $3,000 For War Wounds

By Wyatt Earp | March 28, 2009

<i>Army Sergeant Erik Roberts.</i>

Army Sergeant Erik Roberts.

I thought this must be an early April Fool’s joke: It’s not.

Erik Roberts, an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, underwent his 13th surgery recently to save his right leg from amputation. Imagine his shock when he got a bill for $3,000 for his treatment.

“I just thought it was bull—- that I’m getting billed for being wounded in Iraq doing my job. I always put the mission first, and now that I was wounded in Iraq, they’re sending me bills,” he said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has now decided to pay his bill, but only after prodding from a U.S. senator who got involved after CNN brought it to his attention.

There are times when CNN really disappoints me. I have to give credit where credit’s due here, though. They really stepped up for Sergeant Roberts.

He retired from the Army in October 2007, because of his war injuries, and enrolled in college last fall at Youngstown State University, majoring in finance and minoring in economics.

But in December, he says, a golf ball-sized lump appeared on his wounded leg. He says he went to a Veterans Affairs hospital and was told not to worry about it.

Anyone out there still want HillaryCare or another form of socialized medicine? This is what you would be dealing with if it is implemented.

A few days later, he says, he went to the emergency room after the lump flared up more. A doctor there, he says, told him that the leg was badly infected and that it might have to be amputated.

The Robertses say the VA did not approve of them going outside the system. Erik Roberts says he had no choice — it was have surgery or potentially lose his leg.

“I thought my leg was more important than the usual bureaucratic mess,” he said.

Thank God he ignored the VA. They seem to be completely incompetent.

His leg was saved. The $3,000 billed to Roberts wasn’t for the surgery itself. It’s a portion of the bill for six weeks of daily antibiotics to prevent the infection from coming back. His private insurance plan picked up the majority of the $90,000 in costs. (H/TCNN)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Our veterans deserve so much better. If CNN and Sen. Sherrod Brown (a Democrat from Ohio) hadn’t stepped in, who knows what Roberts would have to be dealing with?

The sad part is that for every Erik Roberts, there are probably hundreds of other faceless veterans who are also getting the shaft from the VA and the government. It’s a damned shame.

Topics: The Troops | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Army Vet Billed $3,000 For War Wounds”

  1. Smite A. Hippie Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    CNN and a Democrat stepping up to help a vet? Has Hell frozen over??

  2. Sully Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    That’s horrible… my uncle John volunteered every spare moment he had to the VA hospitals.

    He’d go there and change bedpans all day if that was needed. (Now and then he’d steal a bath towell)

    This BS cannot stand!!! It won’t…

  3. CaptainAmerica Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Dude your just trying to stir sh*t up with your accomplices at CNN. You are aware that CNN is in the tank for the Republican party- aren’t you?
    This kind of divisive speech only serves to divide us and should be regulated under the “Fairness Doctrine”.
    Everyone knows that even if the good Sargent was wounded in Canada the outcome would have been exactly the same…

  4. CaptainAmerica Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Sorry: You’re.

  5. Bitter American Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here (and I’m sure Sully will agree): If you want a good look at socialized medicine, deal with the VA health system for a few months. I’ve seen ambulance services in some of the poorest towns in PA better equipped than most VA medical centers.

  6. Canadian Seagull Says:
    March 28th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Hey Captain America, As a Canadian and a Veteran, I can certainly vouch for the system we have up here. If a Veteran comes home wounded, his or her injury will insure medical care the rest of their life. Whatever costs Veterans Affairs does not cover, is covered by our Canadian Medical system.
    So my good neighbour, please learn something about yours.

  7. Conrad Says:
    March 29th, 2009 at 2:09 am

    I work for the VA. There are rumors of bad people in certain offices hiding out and collecting a paycheck at the expense of helping veterans. When these people don’t get straightened out or shown the door, this crap happens. Utterly and humiliatingly embarrassing! I will bring this article to the attention of my managers to double check if anything like this is going on in my area. Thanks for the heads up. BTW, before you go on thinking that the VA is made up of career bureaucrats, my office contains over 95% vets and many are wounded. I am serious when I say I will get this article to the right people.

  8. Daisy Says:
    March 29th, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Half the time I think the doc’s & nurses at the VA don’t know what the hell they’re doing. My brother has been screwed up ever since he came back from Iraq and he’s FINALLY starting to get his life back on track, years later.

    All the VA wanted to do was dope him up with pills until he became a zombie. WTF is that? He only takes what he needs now and channels everything else out in the gym or in church. He’s changed for the better.

    I hate how these poor men and women who risk their lives get pushed aside because nobody knows how to deal with them. After all they’ve been through, a bill is NOT what they should be getting. They should be getting support, therapy, etc.

    Stuff like this frustrates me to no end…

  9. Canadian Seagull Says:
    March 29th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    My job here in Ontario, Canada is that of Veterans Service Officer at our local Legion Branch. I’m not sure if you are aware but American Veterans living in Canada are assisted by Veterans Affairs Canada and the cost of this service is picked up by your VA office.
    Our system isn’t the best but it’s dammed close.

  10. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Smite – I had to give credit where it was due. And it was definitely warranted here.

    Sully – Stealing towels? Sounds like my vacation!

    Captain – Either way, this is a despicable incident. Luckily, it seems to have been rectified.

    B.A. – I remember our old Health Clinic – before officers and firefighters received real health benefits. It was a nightmare.

    Canadian Seagull – Sounds much better than the system our vets are subjected to.

    Conrad – Thank you, and thanks for your service. I didn’t want to lump every VA employee in the same boat, but I did want this story to get out there.

    Daisy – I think the VA is a lot like the PPD. There are plenty of good people there, and the few frak-ups ruin the system for everyone.

    Canadian Seagull – Didn’t know that. Good stuff. Hey, while you’re there can you guys fix what’s wrong with the Maple Leafs? :)

  11. Canadian Seagull Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Sorry, the Maple Leafs are waiting for a bailout from us taxpayers. Apparently they can’t produce anything that looks like a winner either. Too bad they don’t have a union to blame eh.

  12. Moe Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Obama met with the head of the American Legion recently and told him that he was going to erase our deficit by billing the vets and their health insurance companies. When the guy began to argue, Obama refused to listen to his point of view and had him removed from his office.