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Hastings Cent Rep. 1986 Aug;16(4):15-7.

Once a soldier, always a dependent.


Why are veterans entitled to special benefits, such as free medical care? Not because such a benefit is an inducement to military service, or because a soldier accepts risk. Rather, the relationship of the Army, to use one service as an example, to a soldier is like that of a parent to a child. The right to health care, even carried beyond the term of service, is an extension of this quasi-familial relationship.


Comparing the military personnel-Army relationship to the relationship between children and parents, Sommers offers a rationale for the provision of health care during active military service and for service-connected disabilities beyond active duty. For disabilities or conditions that are not service-connected, Congress may take a step in the right direction by requiring veterans to show financial need before receiving care from the Veterans Administration. This would follow the parent-child analogy--a parent may choose to support or assist an adult child, but the child has no right to such care.

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