Support our troops goes way beyond bumper sticker philosophy. The concept goes way beyond paying lip service to the American way. It means affording our uniformed officers respect as an individual and respect for his service to America. Tainting any US uniform wearing officer with the blackened brush of political maneuvering is fundamentally un-American.
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is under attack by those seeking desperately to discredit health care reform. The organization, one of 7 uniformed groups of this nation, is comprised of health care professionals. They are structurally similar to military organizations and are classified as non-combatants. The formation of the Corps was signed into law by President Cleveland in 1871. The Reserve Corps was established by President Roosevelt in 1944. Responding to outbreaks of communicable diseases (quarantine and treatment) and assisting during natural disasters, were just two of the reasons for its formation.
September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and California earthquakes are just a few of the arenas where this country has benefited from their service. To infer that this organization is simply a personal army for President Obama to enforce health care reform is insulting to all of those who have sacrificed to serve. (see section 203 of the public health services act)
Additional funding for this organization is being touted as irresponsible and wasteful of the tax dollar. Requiring that the “Ready Reserve Corps” actually be ready in the event of an emergency is also being touted as unreasonable and unfair to reservists. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, these troops were neither adequately funded nor were they ready to respond.
America does not require that its citizens serve the country in any capacity. An individual’s choice to serve is strictly voluntary. Consequently, it is difficult to encourage those who have invested time and money to enter the health care profession to radically reduce their earnings potential in service to their country. A significant amount of the additional funding is needed strictly for public relations to ensure its future staffing needs.
One cannot begin to measure the damage that this political propaganda has done to the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. They too, by any definition, are our troops and we should support and respect them as they serve us. Ultimately, this political maneuvering has simply forced additional public relations dollars be spent to undo the damage wrought by this spread of misinformation. Not only has this nonsense increased costs, it also discourages enlistment.
These changes in the role of the Public Service Reserve Force are clearly in response to the abysmal reaction time of the federal government reacting to Hurricane Katrina. Spinning the facts to promote fear is beyond irresponsible.