VoteVets Launches Nearly $400,000 Ad Blitz Against Privatization of the VA

WASHINGON, DC – A new ad blitz launching today aims to stop efforts aimed at privatizing the Department of Veterans Affairs, in their tracks.  The ads, sponsored by VoteVets Action Fund, will be airing nationally and on the internet, with particular attention paid to areas with lawmakers who will be influential in deciding the future of veterans health care.  The total buy for the ads is $390,000, with $320,000 on television and $70,000 on the internet. The ads will run, beginning today, for one week.

While the ad is airing nationally, particular attention will be paid to people living in Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

The first ad, airing on television, features Patrick Cleveland, a Vietnam Veteran.

In the ad, Cleveland explains, “In Vietnam, I counted on my fellow soldiers to help me make it out alive. Here at home, the VA has done the same. They caught my lung cancer early. At another hospital, they would have never known that was connected to Agent Orange. But some folks in DC want to privatize my VA. The VA is better prepared to serve veterans because they know what we veterans have been through. The VA saved my life. Now it’s up to us to save the VA.”

That ad can be viewed, here: https://youtu.be/idKVyrTEuSQ

The second ad, which will appear online, to target a younger audience, features Victor Phillipi, an Iraq War Veteran.

In the ad, Victor says, “When I was a Platoon Leader in Iraq, we had to lean on one another to get through. My PTSD really got worse around some anniversary dates of combat operations I was involved in. That’s when I first went to the VA for treatment. They helped me tremendously through a little bit of some medication and being around other veterans and talking. But some folks in Washington DC are talking about privatizing my VA… And I’m not sure I’d get health care I trust. The way I see it: the VA saved my life. Now it’s up to us to save the VA.”

That ad can be viewed, here: https://youtu.be/_JPi0oDW_mo

 

Both ads end with the same call to action: “Tell Congress, don’t let Trump privatize my VA.  202-225-3121.”

 

The Trump administration is making good on the Trump campaign’s word to consider moving veterans health care to “some form of privatization,” as campaign advisor Sam Clovis put it, in May, 2016.

 

In testimony to the Senate, VA Secretary David Shulkin outlined a plan that, if implemented, would begin the creation of a VA insurance plan which would be divorced from VA care, and take funds away from care. Under that plan, the VA could begin sending veterans directly to the private, for-profit sector, and close VA centers as they become underutilized.  The result would be a fast track to privatization of the VA.

 

Polling shows that veterans strongly oppose privatization and voucher schemes.  One bi-partisan poll, for the Vet Voice Foundation, found that veterans opposed privatization and voucher schemes for the VA by 64-29 percent.  And 57 percent of veterans said that they would be less likely to vote for a politician that supported such schemes.  That poll can be found here: http://www.vetvoicefoundation.org/press/new-bi-partisan-poll-of-veterans-shows-they-oppose-privatization-or-voucherization-of-va-care

 

VoteVets Director of Government Relations, and Iraq War Veteran Will Fischer explained the purpose of the ads by saying, “The Koch Brothers are using everything they’ve got to try to push through privatization of veterans health care, which would toss veterans into the for-profit, private system.  We’re here to say that veterans are going to fight it, all the way. Our ads make clear that the VA does incredible work, and deserves more support, so it can properly serve all veterans. For those public servants standing up against privatization, we want this to serve as encouragement to keep up the fight. To those who find themselves leaning towards supporting the Trump privatization scheme, we want them to know we’re going to let their constituents know what is happening, so they can hold those politicians accountable.”

 

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