Military groups are honoring a Republican congressman from Iowa and a former First Lady for their efforts to get health care for the Guard and Reserve. A coalition of 36 military and veterans groups has given Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Tom Latham their 2005 “Awards of Merit” for sponsoring legislation that would give Guard and Reserve members permanent, year-round health care coverage. Those soldiers don’t get coverage today.
Latham tried but failed to get the House to vote to provide insurance to the country’s part-time soldiers. Clinton undertook a similar effort in the Senate, with the same result. Latham has said it’s a matter of national security, as it takes longer to mobilize the Guard and Reserve because many do not have insurance, and have health issues that must be resolved before they can go on duty.
A federal report found 20 percent of Guard and Reserve soldiers are uninsured. It’s worse in the Midwest. Forty percent of Guard and Reserve soldiers in the Midwest don’t have health insurance.