The veterans of today have been through some of the most harrowing environments imaginable. From Vietnam and Korea; to Afghanistan and Kosovo these men and women put it on the line and what are they given upon their returns? Homelessness, mental illness and poor healthcare. We have to demand better from the federal government.
Supporting our Veterans
The Federal Government has consistently failed in supporting the men and women who serve us at home and abroad to protect the fundamental freedoms we take for granted as Americans. After returning home, veterans often bear the physical and psychological scars from their service; and we repay them with a broken VA, and disproportionately poor healthcare. Recent studies show that veterans have higher rates of incarceration and homelessness than other demographics, and it’s time we did something about it. In Congress, I will make it my mission to support VA reforms to show our veterans that rather than turning our backs, we are going to protect their 6 both during and after service.
Too Many Broken Promises
We repay our veterans’ heroism with indifference at best, and downright treachery at worst. Every administration likes to claim that they’re going to fix the VA. The VA’s Constitutional obligation is constantly not met and they shirk law and regulation regularly if it suits their interests. It is certainly true that they are one of the bare minimum agencies. It’s always our veterans who bear the brunt of the failures of the federal government.
Hospital wait times exceed months, access to doctors and specialists is sparse, if not non-existent and actively prevented. As physical and mental health problems go unchecked, incarceration rates sky-rocket, suicides increase, homelessness runs rampant. These scars are worn by not only vets, but their families who have to struggle with long-term care with little to no help from the government, who by the way, sent them into harm’s way in the first place. It’s disgraceful, and it’s wrong. In Congress, Mayor Moore will lead the charge for fundamental and impactful VA reforms, to honor the service of those who defend our freedoms.
The Way Forward
So, how do we do that? Too many in Congress will promise the moon, and expect constituents are satisfied with piece-meal regulations that don’t address the root of the problem. In order to reform the VA, we need to fundamentally change the way we look at it. Too much of the money Congress appropriates to the VA gets immediately wrapped up in red tape. Over-administration and ineptitude have created an unworkable system that’s completely dependent on socialist hospitals and outdated policies resulting from unknown backroom deals. With government agencies, similar to any business, efficiency is the name of the game but the VA is anything but efficient.
America’s medical infrastructure is the best in the world. We have the most experienced doctors and nurses, and we are on the cutting edge of pharmaceutical and biomedical innovation. So why would we give the least to those whom we owe the most? The VA ought to be an opportunity to help repay the great debt we owe to those who sacrifice to keep us safe. Yet it’s easy to see why the job isn’t getting done. It’s because the VA isn’t seen as an opportunity, it’s seen as a burden.
The wounds of our veterans, both seen and unseen, are too often spoken of in hushed tones. When vets don’t get the care, they need they’re more likely to hide their symptoms, reinforcing a cultural stigma surrounding them. But those tough conversations are the only way we can truly reform. Tough conversations like the ones about struggling with PTSD, not only from battle but also from sources like the sexual assault. A little known but pervasive issue in the military. Too often the toughest conversations are the ones we need to have the most and too often politicians ignore them in fear of failing and losing popularity.
There is certainly work to be done. We need to make the VA more efficient by engaging in more public-private partnerships. This would free up funds to hire more qualified medical personnel who can provide our vets with more specialized care. We need to support organizations at every level who seek to ease civilian transition, provide vocational training, and help mend the wounds of PTSD.
Oftentimes, we know how to solve the problems we face, we just lack the political will to get it done. Mayor Moore will make it his mission to lead the charge in the quest to help repay the debt to those who sacrifice to keep America safe.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
President George Washington