As Americans, we are guaranteed the opportunity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and those rights are bravely defended by those wearing the uniforms of our armed service. Some have given their all while serving in uniform and it’s their memory we honor this weekend.

For those who come home from conflicts, the battle isn’t always left behind. On this Memorial Day, we are taking the time to put a lens on what recent decisions by the Trump administration mean for those who protect and serve our country.

Another fight is upon us all as we experience the impact of sweeping decisions made by the current administration under the hand of President Donald Trump. Trump’s budget and the GOP’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act affect a number of communities with sizeable and devastating consequences. One of those groups is this country’s veteran population. Access that was seemingly granted by the passage of ACA will see those “doors closed,” in the era of Trump Care. The thought that opening up the market to Veterans who aren’t satisfied with the service and timeline of care in regards to their coverage by VA hospitals is a highly debatable issue. The Trump Care move smells of privatization of care – a move that plays toward corporate money making on the backs of American citizens who have fought and served.

The issue is bigger than just access to timely service. In many low-income states, a category that New Mexico receives top billing in, communities of all kinds will take the hit. For Veterans here in New Mexico, those who were not currently covered by VA health insurance, and were on the exchange thanks to ACA, stand to lose their healthcare altogether. With over 170,000 Veterans in New Mexico who are receiving a range of services, any shakeup to those offerings could be the difference between life and death.

The cut budget and the proposal to repeal and replace healthcare provisions that could leave 23 million people uninsured is in no way right for America. Public assistance programs, cuts to education and workforce training, and the scaling back of all things that seem to make America a land of opportunity for all who live here are rolled into this “deal.”

It is hard to see our veterans who’ve so bravely carried our flag into conflicts around the world now struggling for basic services like health care. And for those men and women who didn’t come home, the one’s we fly that flag for today, what legacy will their memory carry in the future?

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