Weather Forecast

Click for Imperial, Nebraska Forecast

VA issue a black eye for nation PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor

We just celebrated Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of D-Day arrives next week on Friday, June 6. As we remember during these events, the current healthcare scandal brewing in our country’s Veterans Administration is certainly a black eye in our country’s history.
Amidst calls for the VA director to resign and as many as 26 VA hospitals under investigation about treatment delays and possible “secret waiting lists,” there is an outcry from most of us with concerns about how our veterans are treated.
Certainly some of the problem is due to the large influx of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with an aging Vietnam War veteran population.
But why wasn’t the VA prepared for that influx?
Certainly, they were aware of the number of troops serving in the recent wars, and should have figures on the Vietnam veteran population and should have known that retirement age for that group was near, often coming with additional health issues.
According to reports I’ve read, more money has been budgeted for the VA in recent years. Possibly, it wasn’t enough. Probably it should be spent more wisely and where taxpayers want it to be spent—directly helping our veterans.
The investigation continues into whether deaths occurred due to those alleged “waiting lists,” but calls for privatization of the VA health care system should be approached cautiously.
With Obamacare now the law of the land, patient demand for medical services is expected to increase. Combine that with a shortage of doctors (especially in rural areas) and many doctors taking no more new patients or getting out of the business altogether, and you have a possible train wreck coming.
The VA should be held to the highest of expectations in meeting the needs of our veterans, especially regarding healthcare. How can we do any less when these men and women put their lives on the line for us, often in foreign lands, fighting for the freedoms we often take for granted?
I’m not sure the solution will come with a change at the top of the VA or not. Rather, the change must come in the hearts of those working in the VA, and specifically those who may be developing these secret “waiting lists” and other efforts that work against helping veterans in their times of need.
Instead of trying to make their departments look good, their focus must be really caring for the health and livelihoods of our beloved veterans. That must always be at the top of their list.