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such care for service-connected conditions, and this may be provided in hospitals under the direct control of the Veterans' Administration, through bed allocations in other Government hospitals, or in appropriate cases, by contract with public or private institutions. By contrast, veterans suffering from non-service-connected disabilities generally may be furnished hospital care by the Veterans' Administration only if beds are available in Veterans Administration hospitals or within the bed allocations in other Federal Government hospitals. Further, admission on non-service-connected cases is generally conditioned on the inability of the applicant to defray the cost of hospitalization unless the applicant is at least sixty-five years old. The bill would also have the effect of providing outpatient treatment for the groups affected because of the service-connected status which would be granted to them under the bill.
The Veterans' Administration believes that special consideration should be given to former prisoners of war and strives to assure that they will receive compensation and other benefits in full measure under existing law. However, we do not think the fact that a veteran was a prisoner of war for 6 months, standing alone, justifies a guaranteed disability rating of 50 percent, contrary to fact, which would be compensable under current rates at $171 per month for the balance of his lifetime. This bill would create an exception to the mentioned statutory requirement that ratings shall be based, so far as practicable, on impairment of earning capacity. It would be discriminatory against all other veterans whose disabilities are rated in accordance with that concept. It can be seen that every effort has been made to assist former prisoners of war in establishing service connection for disabilities that were incurred in or aggravated by military service and that no justification is apparent for granting presumptive service connection for all
chronic diseases manifested within 10 years after separation.
Since there are no meaningful data available that will permit us to identify those veterans who would benefit from this bill, if enacted, we are unable to fu sh any estimate of the cost of the measure.
For the reasons indicated above and since we believe that sufficiently liberal treatment is already accorded former prisoners of war under existing laws and procedures, the Veterans Administration opposes enactment of S. 1432.
Advice has been received from the Office of Management and Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the Administration's program. Sincerely,
RICHARD L. ROUDEBUSH,
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Washington, D.C., June 24, 1975.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAX: This is in response to your request of April 22, 1975, for the views of this Office on S. 1432, a bill to amend title 38 of the United States Code to provide that certain veterans who were prisoners of war shall be deemed to have a service-connected disability of 50 per centum, to deem certain prisoners of war to be permanently and totally disabled for the purposes of receiving wartime disability compensation; to provide hospital care and medical treatment for certain non-service-connected disabilities of former prisoners of war; to provide a 10-year presumptive period of service connection for chronic diseases of certain prisoners of war, and for other purposes.
In its report to your committee on S. 1432, the Veterans' Administration explains its reasons for recommending against favorable action on the bill. We concur in the views expressed in the report of the Veterans Administration and, accordingly, recommend against the enactment of S. 1432. Sincerely,
JAMES F. C. HYDE, Jr., Acting Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE
VANCE HARTKE, Chairman
JANUARY 31, 1975
Printed for the use of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1975
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
VANCE HARTKE, Indiana, Chairman HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Georgia
CLIFFORD P. HANSEN, Wyoming JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia STROM THURMOND, South Carolina ALAN CRANSTON, California
ROBERT T. STAFFORD, Vermont RICHARD (DICK) STONE, Florida
WILLIAM L. SCOTT, Virginia
SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMPENSATION AND PENSIONS
HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Georgia, Chairman JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia CLIFFORD P. HANSEN, Wyoming RICHARD (DICK) STONE, Florida
STROM THURMOND, South Carolina