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As U.S. default looms, Arizona veterans worry about potential consequences

Published: Friday, May 26, 2023 - 2:06pm

In just days, the U.S. government could run out of money to pay its bills. Lawmakers are working to reach a budget compromise before June 1, when the country could default. KJZZ talked to an Arizona veteran who’s frustrated that Congress is pushing this issue to the brink.

"This brings on a lot of anxiety, and especially again, for veterans who are undergoing health care at the VA. I’m one of those," said David Lucier, president and CEO of the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance.

Because if the government were to default, federal benefits  could go unpaid to veterans and the people who care for them. 

"And if this whole thing comes to a halt, my health care could definitely be affected … really what we're talking about are life and death issues here," said Lucier.

There are roughly 186,000 veterans in Arizona who rely on the VA for their health care.

Scott Bourque is the communications director with Vets Forward, a nonpartisan veterans political advocacy group. 

"There are all of these things on the line, the Medicaid, routine mental health visits, disability screenings, I want to say it's like 40-plus percent of veterans come out with some sort of service connected disability," Bourque said. "It already takes six to eight months just to get screened for disability coverage."

Congress has now gone home for the holiday weekend.