Veterans Affairs, Pres. Biden won’t limit benefits to unvaccinated
The Department of Veterans Affairs press secretary has denied claims circulating that President Joe Biden is denying benefits to veterans who choose not to be vaccinated.
The allegations surfaced on what appears to be a DelawareOhioNews.com news site in an article, “Biden orders VA to suspend health benefits for unvaccinated veterans”.
Given the current climate and administrative changes regarding federal employment and vaccine mandates, the article, and in particular its title, has raised many concerns.
The article began:
President Joe Biden has ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to suspend health care benefits for unvaccinated veterans as part of an aggressive new initiative to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of November 1, any Veteran seeking medical attention at an VA facility must have received at least one shot of vaccine to receive services under their medical benefits program.
The executive order is one of the new rules to combat the Delta variant, including vaccine requirements for federal workers, large employers, and healthcare workers.
The article’s first commentator wrote: “This is the most incompetent and scandalous thing that a President of the United States has ever done. President Joe Biden had proven himself to be unmistakably insane.
Others questioned the validity of the report: “I read the transcript of that speech Thursday evening. I also listened to it live. I don’t think this is true. A good friend of mine is a homeless vet counselor and she hasn’t heard anything about it. Just that healthcare workers need to be vaccinated.
So what is the truth?
Although the website claims to be a parody website, buried in the terms of the site, the information in the article has been taken to be the truth by many readings. To help clear up the confusion, I asked the agency to provide a formal response.
Here is what I asked VA Public Affairs: “Has President Joe Biden or the White House ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to suspend health benefits or health services to veterans who have not received?” COVID-19 vaccine? “
The agency reacted quickly.
The agency refutes the allegations
“The President does not and will not deny benefits to veterans who choose not to be vaccinated,” VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said in a written response to my question.
“The spread of this misinformation is extremely damaging to our Veterans and their families and should stop immediately. “
For those unfamiliar with it, skilled veterans receive VA benefits in the form of monetary benefits for certain disabilities, home loans, and education payments. Many ex-combatants also receive health benefits in the form of medical treatment.
The VA statement appears to address all of the benefits, not just the health benefits. Taken at face value, the press secretary’s denial suggests that the president will not condition the receipt of benefits by veterans on the basis of vaccination status.
It’s good news.
The Delaware Ohio “News” website
An initial scan of the website and article led many new readers to believe that this was a legitimate source of information.
That is, until some readers found the disclaimer at the bottom of the site: “That said, everything on this website is made up.” Do not trust anything that is said here.
Unfortunately, the “invented” nature of the parody site was not explicitly reflected in the content of the article. This can be a significant problem as many readers will not read beyond the title or the first few paragraphs resulting in the wrong impression.
The false impression here was whether veterans could have access to healthcare regardless of their decision to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
And, I can tell you that at least some veterans were alarmed by his claim that President Biden would limit health benefits for unvaccinated veterans from November 1, 2021.
Based on the large number of comments, the article circulated widely online over the weekend.
Many commentators on the article were unaware that the information on the website was false and considered a “travesty”.
Those who realized that the information was false found the article in poor taste.
Mel wrote: “If you want to write satire, go for it. But never, under any circumstances, is it appropriate to speak so disrespectfully to our veterans – even if it is satirically. Our veterans deserve much better than what you have written here.
America Watch wrote, “If it’s satire, you won’t laugh when someone sues you for the suicide of their loved ones. You need to make it clearer if it’s actually satire or ties to the Decree.
Wendy Wills wrote, “It’s a satirical website,” he says at the bottom of this page. However this is crap. Scare a ton of veterans like that, not cool. It is ethically wrong and immoral. “
In my review of the article, the language in the article seemed fishy:
“We no longer wage wars abroad. We are waging a war here at home against the stupidity of the American people, ”the spokesperson said. “People die from multiple causes every day, but dying from COVID-19 when a vaccine is available is unacceptable. Suicide, drug overdoses, homicides, fatalities – these are all tragedies too, but we can deal with them – deaths from COVID-19 are not something we will tolerate. The government outside.
This and a few other bogus quotes raised red flags for me and led to an information search to see if the site was parody or satirical in nature.
Can you spot a red flag?
Yes, the post is entirely bogus, but it pissed off many readers who missed the fine print or red flags in the text of the post.
But there is a silver lining.
The parody article allowed VA to state what America hopes to be true under any circumstances.
President Biden has not and will not limit receipt of benefits based on the immunization status of veterans.