Every day veterans turn to an overburdened VA health care system to get medical care they need. Some are returning from Afghanistan or Iraq with terrible wounds incurred in battle, others who’s afflictions, while still being service related, may not be the direct result of battle wounds.
Still more veterans from the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II era, in the face of losing other medical insurance coverage, turn to the VA system to cope with there personal medical crisis. The result is a system that can hardly accommodate them. It is a system understaffed, under funded and lacking of a basic level of resources to provide the care veterans deserve.
Today there are about 25 million living American veterans, all of whom have put their life on the line for country, and to preserve the freedoms we all cherish and yet so often casually take for granted. Many of these veterans have suffered physically and or mentally, as a result of their service. They are most certainly entitled to care, and every other American should feel obligated to see that they get it.
It is easy to find fault with the VA system. There is no doubt that its facilities are inadequate and medical staffing insufficient to address the challenges it faces. This veteran however, who has graduated from the school of been there, done that, with respect to the VA medical system, chooses to focus on the good being done by the VA, to champion the vast majority of doctors and support staff who do the best they can under difficult circumstances to care for this countries veterans. And most of them do care. No doubt, as Dr. Audree Tucker has pointed out so descriptively in her article under this title, there are plenty of incompetent people in the VA system and weeding them out should be a high priority. This veteran has certainly run into a few of them.
The first challenge any vet faces with respect to getting care from the VA system, is getting into the VA system itself. This institution of government has a massive bureaucracy designed to discourage and disallow any vet from getting the care he or she is entitled to.
After pulling together all the required documents and filling out the reams of forms required to file a claim, a vet is assured only that they will wait at least six to nine months to get a response, and that the response will almost certainly be a denial of benefit.
Next the vet must mount an appeal and provide additional evidence or other information to support the claim. After filing a resubmission another 6 months of waiting ensues and even after this the vets claim may still be denied. Meanwhile those who have faithfully served their country are suffering, and some of them no doubt die, before they ever get the care they are so deserving of. It is a despicable situation, and every American who enjoys the freedoms these vets have purchased for them should be ashamed so long as this status continues.
The simple solution is to disband the claim process all together, eliminate the bureaucracy and spend the dollars on caring for vets rather than attempting to deny it to them. The vets DD-214 and social security card aught to be all a vet needs to get into the system.
This is not a question of politics, of Democrats versus Republicans. It is a question of honor, that having been demonstrated and acknowledged through document of discharge for services rendered on the part of veterans, and the lacking of it on the part of elected officials, government, and citizens at large who have turned their backs on veterans in need.
The number of veterans living on the streets of American cities today is appalling. How can we as a nation point fingers at other countries for humanist violations while we can’t be bothered to care for those who have made the supreme sacrifice and paid the ultimate price for their country and the principles it stands for?
Yes, American veterans face great challenges if they are going to get any care at all from the VA medical system. They are owed much more. This country has just undergone an election and the American people have decided that it is time for change. Be sure that this change includes a new commitment to veterans health care.
With the stroke of a pen, elected officials and the new president can eliminate every challenge veterans today face getting the treatment for mental and physical conditions they have received while in the service of there country, and on behalf of every citizen which enjoys the freedom their service has provided.
On this Veterans Day show a veteran you really care. Take a few minutes of your time and write, email or call your elected officials. Demand that he or she take action on your behalf to assure that every veteran will get the health care he or she needs when they need it, and that the care they receive will be the very best. You can truly honor veterans by removing the barriers and challenges they face to get care through the VA medical system.