Friday, July 18, 2008

Supporting New Hampshire's returning troops

I'm not generally a fan of study committees and commissions. At the State House, and in Congress, I've seen study committees used as a way for elected officials to avoid voting up or down on bad ideas on sympathetic issues. Say a colleague wants to use tax dollars to buy every child in New Hampshire a puppy. Well, that's a bad idea, but who wants to go on record opposing kids having puppies. Instead, let's create a study committee or a Blue Ribbon Commission to look at the idea.

However, today we see the exception to that rule; a new Commission that is actually being formed to find some new information. This afternoon, Governor Lynch signs HB 1335 into law, creating a Commission to study the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury suffered by New Hampshire soldiers and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sadly, the Veterans Administration doesn't devote nearly enough to studying the unseen damage to our troops that doesn't show up on an MRI. Rather than concentrate on service-related injuries, the VA tries compete with private hospitals in providing general health care services, and fails. We shouldn't need a New Hampshire Commission to look into PTSD and traumatic brain injury, but we do.

Since I took Bob Clegg to task for his bad idea on health insurance this morning, it's only fair to give him credit here. He's a cosponsor of HB 1335. He, along with Senator Joe Kenney, and Representatives Sharon Carson, DJ Bettencourt, and Al Baldarsaro, should be thanked for their efforts. I look forward to seeing the Commission's recommendations in December.

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