Republican Senator Kills Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill That Passed House Unanimously
[su_right_ad]The VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Outgoing Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn says it costs too much and stopped the bill from coming up for a vote.
Coburn’s main beef with the bill was that it was redundant, and wouldn’t be offset by any cuts in spending. That may be true, but it also conveniently overlooks the fact that military suicide continues to be a huge problem. In 2012, the VA estimated that 22 veterans take their lives every day. And as the recent scandal over waiting times at veterans’ hospitals revealed, the agency has done a terrible job caring for soldiers seeking mental health treatment (and any other kind of medical treatment, for that matter).
There are signs that the military’s suicide epidemic might even be getting worse, as more soldiers return home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Defense’s quarterly suicide report, released last week, found that there were 70 suicides 1among service members in the second quarter of 2014. That puts the total number of military suicides at 144 for the first six months of this year, and means were well on our way to outpacing last year’s totals.
Notably Coburn, a doctor-turned-politician supports the Iraq War, which has cost $2 trillion to date. As Wonkette points out, the $22 million price tag for the suicide prevention bill is equal to the cost of about 210 minutes of fighting the Iraq war at its height.[su_csky_ad]