Threats to Veterans Health Care
At the January Retiree Council Board meeting, Jeff Roy of the Save Our VA (SOVA) organization outlined the problems being faced by the Veteran’s Administration health care system that are resulting in threats to the high-quality care our veterans should receive.
When Congress passed the 2014 Choice Act and the 2018 Mission Act which were designed to give veterans more health care choices, insufficient protections and oversight of the care being received by veterans from the private health care sector mean some veterans are not getting the care they deserve.
The veterans’ hospitals and clinics are designed to provide specialized care for vets in areas such as PTSD, military sexual trauma, combat-related mental illness/suicidal behavior, Agent Orange-related diabetes/prostate cancer and other combat unique problems. Many private providers are not equipped to deal with these issues with the expertise the VA provides.
And the laws in effect do not provide the VA the oversight to ensure that vets get the care they need from the private sector. Because of insufficient funding and 44,000 unfilled VA vacancies, these laws are resulting in privatizing health care for vets to an unhealthy extent.
SOVA is supporting a proposal in the US Senate introduced by Senator Jon Tester of Montana, Senate Bill S154, amending the Veteran Community Care Program regulations in the Mission Act to provide meaningful oversight of the care provided to veterans in private sector health facilities. They urge you to call Senators Smith and Klobuchar at 202-224-3121 and express support for S154.
SOVA also supports full funding, in a separate budget, for the Veterans Community Care Program so that scarce resources for VHA facilities and staff are not diverted into the private sector community programs. The Retiree Council Board passed a resolution in support of these positions and you can find a precinct caucus resolution at mnaflcio.org, choose Elections from the menu, then Precinct Caucus, then the party you whose precinct caucus you would attend.