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Bill in honor of NM marine to extend military medical insurance

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 11/12/2003

Bill in honor of NM marine to extend military medical insurance

Jesse Spiri

Last Update: 11/12/2003 7:08:28 AM By: Kurt Christopher

The U.S. Senate is expected to give final approval Wednesday for legislation to ensure military men and women get health insurance.

It’s called the “Spiri Amendment,” named after New Mexican Jesse Spiri who died from a brain tumor as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. But the military’s insurance refused to pay his medical bills.

Spiri’s father says his late son was a victim of war in the military health care system. On Veterans Day, he met with Senator Pete Domenici in an effort to change how the military insures its servicemen and women.

Jesse Spiri graduated from Western New Mexico University in May 2001 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The very next day, the 21-year-old had a seizure and found out he had a brain tumor. Spiri died two months later on July 7th, leaving behind his two-month old daughter, Hailey, and a family outraged that the military’s insurance would not cover Spiri because he had not yet reported for duty.

“I’m reminded of the fifth fold of a flag when they’re folding the flag from the coffin, it represents that our country always will be right,” said father Jim Spiri.

Jim Spiri has not stopped pushing for a change in medical coverage for military men and women. He got Sen. Domenici to listen.

“We knew from the very beginning that there was an injustice that this should not be the case so we started working on it,” said Domenici.

The Spiri Amendment, allowing for men and women to be covered by insurance as soon as they are commissioned, should get the Senate’s approval Wednesday. The measure has already passed the House.

“In this instance it proved that one person’s effort and prayers can make it work,” said Jim Spiri.

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