Each Soldier Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan Costs an Average of $2 Million

ReasonReasonThe Fiscal Times is reporting that the long-term medical care for each of the 866,181 soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost an average of $2 million. The Department of Veteran Affairs expects to spend $6.9 billion this year and $7.6 billion next year.

From The Fiscal Times:

For every one of the 866,181 soldiers officially counted injured casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the government is expected to spend some $2 million in long-term medical cost.

The total of $1.7 trillion is based on a widely cited March 2013 paper by Linda Bilmes at Harvard’s Kennedy School. It includes $800 billion already spent on injured veterans along with   the cost of long-term care for an additional 50,000 current casualties counted by the Pentagon.

Since 2001, the VA has spent $134.3 billion to care for veterans. VA spokesperson Genevieve Billia said the department does not produce cost estimates over decades, but that the VA “plans to spend $6.9 billion in 2013, $7.6 billion in 2014 and  $8.0 billion in 2015.”

Perhaps those who are not convinced by the moral, diplomatic, or political arguments against our military adventures abroad might have their opinion swayed when the long-lasting economic effects of such adventures are considered.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...might have their opinion swayed when the long-lasting economic effects of such adventures are considered.

    The people who would be swayed by the negative impact on public finances above all else already agrees with you on interventionism. Everyone else either sees the greater good, the multipliers, etc.

  • ||

    Perhaps those who are not convinced by the moral, diplomatic, or political arguments against our military adventures abroad might have their opinion swayed when the long-lasting economic effects of such adventures are considered.

    Yes, I'm sure the war pigs will reconsider now. I mean, look at the costs!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "The total of $1.7 trillion is based on a widely cited March 2013 paper by Linda Bilmes at Harvard’s Kennedy School. It includes $800 billion already spent on injured veterans along with the cost of long-term care for an additional 50,000 current casualties counted by the Pentagon."

    I am a bit skeptical - is she counting Pentagon and VA costs? You could almost count the entire VA as a "cost of injured" veterans. I didn't cost jack squat, and won't in future, so somebody is really dragging that average up.

    P.S. "Soldiers" are Army - I suspect there were injured Marines, Airman and some unfortunate brown-sand Sailors.

  • Rrabbit||

    Yes, the amount looks too high - but could also be the government's well known skills at getting things done efficiently and for a reasonable price.

  • Brett L||

    We're still paying benefits to 2 Civil War vet families. Never underestimate the long tail of indefinite benefits.

  • ||

    Two words: Veterans. Affairs.

  • Drake||

    I assume the numbers include their pensions?

  • some guy||

    I think the word Feeney was looking for was "Warfighters".

  • Brett L||

    The obvious answer is death panels. Although I think the VA tried that between the mid-70s and the turn of the century.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    More like the 1950s onward (per my parents, who both had work contact with the VA at one time or another)

  • ||

    What LTC J said. Almost all war cost estimates that get media attention fail to properly break out marginal costs of deployment related expenses and lump in permanent baseline costs that would have been incurred anyway.

  • OldMexican||

    Each Soldier Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan Costs an Average of $2 Million


    We used to leave them to drown in the bombholes in no-man's land when they couldn't make it back to the trenches...

  • Brandon||

    I think this will make Tulpa go full TEAM BLUE and believe in the multiplier. I mean, look at all the jobs that 1.7T will support!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    So Kruggie would support it, as well as Nancy Pelosi!?

  • Sevo||

    "as well as Nancy Pelosi!?"
    Wind up the key, aim her left, and stand back!

  • ||

    Tulpa's self-admittedly both pro-war and anti-military. About a year ago he said something along the lines of "not my fault their sacrifice is meaningless"... Wish I was good at finding old comments on this site.

  • OldMexican||

    For every one of the 866,181 soldiers officially counted injured casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan


    866 THOUSAND wounded???

    Ah, now we know why the governent only talks about the number of dead from those two combat zones; because if they started to mention the number of casualties (like people used to,) one would realize just how bloody awful are those two wars in terms of human cost.

  • Sevo||

    But BOOOSH!

  • UnCivilServant||

    I want a breakdown by severity of injury, and direct cause.

  • Almanian!||

    1) SEVERE
    2 TEH TEERRRRISTZS

  • ||

    Most of those are minor injuries. I had two of my guys spend the night in the hospital with concussions when a car bomb blew up 50 meters behind their truck. They apparently fully recovered, but there's no guarantee they won't (legit or not) have some future claim related to PTSD or a disability rating.

    My driver got seriously screwed up in the brain (for a while he couldn't dial a phone with the number written down in front of him) when he rolled over my truck with both of us in it, and I fully expect he'll have some long term fiscal impact. Although he recovered enough to enroll in college after he got out it's only tOSU, so serious brain malfunction is still likely.

  • some guy||

    From the report:

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has treated 866,181 (56%) of OEF/OIF/OND veterans for a wide range of medical conditions. The most common diagnoses include: diseases of the musculoskeletal system (principally joint and back disorders); mental health disorders; central nervous system and endocrine system disorders; as well as respiratory, digestive, skin, and hearing disorders20. Of this group, 29% has been diagnosed with PTSD. Most veterans have been treated for a variety of different conditions. There is virtually no difference between the former active duty service members and Reservists/Guards; with 56% of active duty and 55% of Reservist/Guards having obtained VA health care.

    tldr; A lot of mental health and musculoskeletal problems, which you'd expect from a cohort routinely exposed to large explosions.

  • UnCivilServant||

    My first response to muscularskeletal was "heavy lifting" which they tend to do in spades.

    Also, that doesn't show a causitive link to the overseas service. These are numbers who sought care because it was free at the point of delivery (last I knew).

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Also, that doesn't show a causitive link to the overseas service. These are numbers who sought care because it was free at the point of delivery (last I knew)."

    DING! DING! DING!

    A winner.

  • ||

    "A lot of mental health and musculoskeletal problems, which you'd expect from a cohort routinely exposed to large explosions."

    Most people who make it 10+ years in a combat related job haver musculoskeletal problems just from normal training even if they've never deployed. Persistent shin splints, torn tendons, etc. I have a tendon in my hand that now keeps me from doing pushups consistently. It's from weight lifting...

  • some guy||

    Note that the quote is the number of veterans treated by the VHA, which is why the number is an order of magnitude higher than the "official" WIA number.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Treatment for injury is not given to be injury from combat operations.

  • some guy||

    True. It's all war veterans who got treatment for anything, which goes into some of the other comments around here about how this includes costs that would have been incurred even without a decade of war.

  • Sigivald||

    Exactly.

    We can't jump from "VA" to "injured" - all veterans get VA coverage (as I understand it), regardless of ever having even had a papercut in the service.

    The military is staggeringly expensive - but not, primarily, because So Many People Get Hurt In Wars And That's So Exepensive*.

    (* I mean, they do, and it is. But that's not the driver here, I think.)

  • ||

    Negative. It depends on what's in your service record by the time you get out, last I checked. If you get a disability rating at or above 50%, I believe you qualify for free health benefits for anything. Otherwise, you're only covered for service-connected stuff.

  • SugarFree||

    No price is to high for someone to pay in the pursuit of war boners.

  • $park¥||

    You just want our enemies to destroy us don't you? Will you be happy when America is a smoking ruin overrun with Muslims? WILL YOU?

  • SugarFree||

    It's hard to believe such a large segment of the population has turned into Hudson from Aliens.

  • some guy||

    When do we start talking about nuking things from orbit?

  • UnCivilServant||

    1950s, really.

  • Almanian!||

    But Obamacare will bend the cost curve and fix this. Because magick.

    And, no, don't try to tell me these costs are different than what Obamacare covers, cause.

  • some guy||

    I'm sure all of these costs are already in the budget, covered by war bonds or something because our Top. Men. are so fiscally responsible.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Man, I wish I had me some of them thar War Bonds - they must be paying 2-3% or such!

    /1945

  • T||

    Man, I didn't cost them anywhere near that much. I must be doing something wrong.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yeah, I should have loudly started demanding my 10% disability or something - oh, wait, I only had a couple of broken bones, and they healed. Never mind.

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