Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, M.P.A.


Political Science Department


Laurie Buonanno, Ph.D.

First Reader

Laurie Buonanno, Ph.D.


Caring for our nation's veterans is a responsibility of the federal promise that began with a promise by Abraham Lincoln on the event of his second inauguration. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Army to recruit an additional 16,000 enlisted personnel and retain an additional 9,000 soldiers by the end of September 2017, with the Army offering enlistment bonuses of up to $40,000 and upwards of $10,000 for soldiers willing to extend their contracts for one year (Myers, 2017). A RAND Corporation study identified several risk factors for Army recruitment should the need arise to commit forces including the stress placed upon the reserve component and the rapid turnaround necessary to meet operational commitments (Nataraj, 2017). To address the need for better recruitment incentives necessary for current staffing guidelines, and to help deal with the growing mental health crisis among the current veteran population, lifetime health care coverage would serve to address both these issues. To address the potential recruiting problem and help with the growing problems in the VHA this paper investigates the potential effect that free lifetime health care benefits for all veterans could prove an effective recruiting incentive. No available research was found that looked at this proposition so a study was devised to examine the potential impact. To gauge this a survey instrument was created and distributed through the platform to a representative sample of the general population of the United States. The results of that survey were tabulated and analyzed to determine the level of support for a measure to grant lifetime healthcare and to determine if that measure might be effective as a recruiting incentive. Results of the survey proved that people support the idea of granting lifetime healthcare to veterans and that providing healthcare coverage could impact a decision to enlist favorably.