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VA Travesty

May 28, 2014

I have refrained from commenting on the latest debacle in the Veterans Administration (VA). I was hoping to see the VA leadership, Congress, and the White House take command of the situation and act with swiftness and transparency. What I have seen instead of command is a political hot potato; instead of swiftness I have seen a pathetic lethargy; where I have expected transparency we have people hiding behind the red tape of the federal government. This has motivated me to write this piece today.

To be transparent, I am a disabled veteran. My sole source of medical care is the VA. Yes, my service to my country was voluntary. But there was a promise that if I had any medical issues when I departed from my service I could expect excellent care from the VA. Now I am facing the uncertainty of my health in the future. Intentional wait lists where patients have died waiting care. Why should any veteran believe they are not on one of these lists when they are told no appointments are available?

For those who do not use the VA, those of us who are patients of the VA consider this a grave breach in trust. These wait lists are starting to appear to be a systemic effort to curtail spending. After all, what benefit is there to making veterans wait for care for grave illnesses? The head of the VA has been silent and the Commander-in-Chief has not said anything publicly which would make this veteran thing they care or desire a rapid solution.

Oliver North was on Fox News this week and had the best solutions yet, and I will paraphrase here. First, he said to place the veterans in a system where they can choose to receive treatment at a VA or private care hospital or physician with no charge to the veteran. This puts the veteran in control of their care provides options and protections. North’s second idea was to ensure every employee of the VA was a veteran or a family member of a veteran. How will this help? This will provide the VA employees who are vested in the care and treatment of its patients out of honor and a sense of duty. The other point he made that seemed common sense was the head of the VA should step down immediately. He has breached the trust and, speaking for myself, I will not trust the system until a major overhaul occurs.

Many veterans, me included, are stuck in the VA system because of our injuries and wounds. Private insurance won’t take us or will charge us an outrageous premium which is unfeasible. We have sacrificed and are now asking for our government to fulfill their promises to us. This debacle will echo for generations if it is not resolved rapidly and decisively.

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