The bad publicity about the long lines or waiting times for health care at our VA facilities is but the tip of an iceberg that is wide and deep.
First, the nation is want to understand the cost of veteran’s care which is beyond our budget especially given the numbers receiving benefits who have never fought in battle. Outsourcing care to private and public facilities will escalate cost even more in ways not appreciated by politicians of whom less than 35% in Congress have ever enlisted, been drafted or served. The Wounded Warriors program bothers me for that is a service the VA should be doing and for which money has been appropriated.
Second, the major cost for the VA is not publically discussed -- Service Connected Disabilities (SCDs). It often takes up to ten years and sometimes more to get a decision on one’s compensation status for injuries sustained while in the military, aggravation of preexisting problems by military service or later developments as a consequence of one’s service. By the time a decision is made some have died, many are destitute and the timeliness of payments unreasonable and poorly scrutinized. Within 90 days of application for such, a finding on a veteran’s SCD status should be given, another finding in one year and payments instituted to the time of the insult not the date of application.
Third, too many children born to veterans with 30% or more SCD are not receiving assistance or educational entitlements which is scandalous. In this same regard likely thousands of children have been born as a result of war time encounters or stationing overseas as well as out of wedlock births which aren’t fully recognized and effectively dealt with.
These three areas sit at the heart of many of the VA’s problems. It will require bold leadership to get a grip on this genie which many perceive as too big and politically sensitive to put back in the bottle.
Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a PHYSICIAN, licensed teacher , previously elected school board member, former medical director in a fortune 500 company, AUTHOR, gifted Public Speaker and THE nc rEPUBLICAN nATIONAL cOMMITTEEWOMAN. Contact her at P. O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145;DrFisher@DrAdaMFisher.COM. [Her book, Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Solutions for What AIls Us, Book I IS available through Amazon.com.