Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Fighting for Veterans

Normally Parade magazine (from your Sunday paper) isn’t a source most of us would go to, but this last Sunday’s lead story, “What Do We Owe Our Veterans?” is worth reading. It lays out veterans’ health care problems, as they are, and clearly sets forth the huge funding shortfalls in VA health care. The Bush Administration keeps on crowing about how much more funding there is now for veterans – but as Parade rightly points out, it’s still woefully short of the needs. Parade concludes that the VA can’t meet its goals in veterans’ health care.

Many vets still refuse to believe the Bush administration would fail them in such a crucial area as health care. However, I and many others have been reporting on this failure for almost a year. Now it’s being reported matter-of-factly in mainstream innocuous sources like Parade. Veterans – let me put it bluntly – it’s time to wake up. This is YOUR health care we are talking about. You may not need it now, but it may be all you have some day.

Last week I promised to start building a Veterans’ Strategic Plan.

Point #1 of the plan: Health care for veterans must be right at the top with our other most important national health care priorities. To paraphrase my son-in-law who says it best, “A veteran, especially one who has been wounded, disabled, or who has contracted any ailment while on active duty, ought to be able to go into any health care facility, at any time, for any reason, with no questions asked and no bill for services.” Using a little creativity in thinking, you would not need a separate costly VA health system, and with less money be able to treat any veteran.

Many of you will come up with a lot of objections or say I’m asking way too much.

But Parade rightly concludes by quoting David Gorman of the Disabled American Veterans this way, “Our leaders put them (veterans) in harm’s way. Their fellow countrymen owe them some future security.” It’s that simple, and that important.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link