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February 22, 1995

The Future of the VACentralization, Costs, Politics, and Presentism

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Advanced Medical Studies, The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

JAMA. 1995;273(8):667-668. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520320077046

To the veterans of the armed forces of this country, we owe the very existence of the United States as a nation, independent of domination by governments of Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, or others external to ours. It is impossible today to recapture the feeling of gratitude that pervaded this country immediately after most wars, especially World War II. In that atmosphere, President Truman signed Public Law 293 on January 3, 1946, less than 6 months after the war's end—"an act to establish a Department of Medicine and Surgery in the Veterans Administration."1,2 The VA had existed long before 1946. The history of special care for veterans reaches far back into the mists of ancient times, but Adkins traces care given veterans by the American government to 1593, when the British Parliament passed an "Acte for the Relief of Souldiours" for those who had defended against the Spanish

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