Los Angeles Daily News: Korean immigrants fighting with the US in Vietnam got new health care

Washington, January 24, 2020

…Koreans were the second largest contingent of foreign soldiers defending South Vietnam, only behind the United States. More than 5,000 Korean soldiers were killed and nearly 11,000 injured during the conflict. This comes from data from the non-profit organization Korean American Veterans of the Vietnam War…Since these 3,000 veterans are now US citizens, the South Korean government has limited support, said Kim Wan-joong of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles. This includes a monthly veteran grant of around $ 250 and the right to be buried in a South Korean national cemetery. Otherwise, said Wan-joong, they are on their own in the United States. “These veterans are caught in a difficult situation,” said MP Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, who also sponsors the bill…There is still no official estimate of how much it would cost to implement the Korean-American VALOR Act or HR 5590. The Congress Budget Office will calculate this number when the bill is in the legislative process. The Cisneros office therefore refused to speculate. However, if the government spends an average of $ 10,000 per veteran and year on medical care, providing coverage for an additional 3,000 veterans could add about $ 30 million a year. This is just over 1% of the VA’s annual budget of $ 220 billion. Cisneros said he knew his bill could open the door to health requests from other Allied veterans who have become US citizens – such as Filipino American soldiers from the Vietnam War or Saudi Arabian soldiers from the Gulf War. However, he noted that such a move is not without precedent. Veterans who have fought for the United States’ European allies during World War I and II are already receiving medical care from the VA.

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