Skip to main content

Veterans' Health Care Bill 'Critical First Step'

Veterans' Health Care Bill 'Critical First Step' in Addressing VA Failures

Mike Hall AFL-CIO
Spurred by the recent revelations about long waiting lists, denied critical health care for military veterans, management cover-ups and other serious problems at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and health care facilities, Senate and House leaders have agreed on veterans' health care funding and reform package.

AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. calls the legislation by the leaders of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs committees:

"A critical step toward getting the VA back on track so veterans do not have to wait for care….As [Senate Veterans' Affairs] Chairman [Sen.] Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reminded us, this legislation is the beginning, not the end, of a long overdue effort to make the VA strong again and address the true cost of war."

The $17 billion supplemental funding measure must be approved by both houses, which leave for a five-week summer recess at the end of this week.

The bill will begin to address chronic short staffing of doctors, nurses and support personnel. This will assist in getting veterans in the door to receive the top-notch care they have earned, says AFGE, health care that veterans regularly choose over the option of going outside the VA. Inadequate staffing has been widely shown to be the root cause of the unacceptable delays and wait-list manipulation.

It includes $2 billion to lease 27 new medical facilities and $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other staff and funding for treatment of traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma and improved educational benefits.

The bill also the gives the VA secretary new power to fire executives at the agency. Says Cox:

"Although AFGE supports accountability for VA executives responsible for wait-list manipulation, accountability does not require eliminating due process rights; we have all seen in recent months the culture of fear in the VA that intimidates and harms employees trying to speak up for veterans. Due process protects the innocent; we want to make sure we only punish the guilty."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)

Trump To Cut Social Security

Trump’s Promise Not to Cut Social Security has been Broken by Robert Roach, Jr. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget is a non-starter. He has betrayed America’s seniors. In fact, $2 trillion in deficit reduction turns out to be just a math error. The budget cuts $72 billion over ten years from disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Trump promised repeatedly to protect – not cut – Social Security. Yet his first budget does just that, harming millions of disabled Americans.  The Trump budget also slashes $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), total Medicaid spending was $368 billion in 2016. Almost two-thirds of that was for seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on Medicaid for health care and long-term care. This cut is drastic and dangerous by any measurement. This budget also decimates the Community Development Block Grant, which pro…

Thanks from Bill Gibbons

Thank YouWhile there have been a lot of serious developments that can adversely affect retirees and the working class that I could write about, I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to two SOAR activists and leaders of SOAR that I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with in pursuing the mission and activities of SOAR. Charlie Averill, who was the Secretary-Treasurer of SOAR, decided not to run for re-election during our recent SOAR conference. He has since been appointed an Emeritus member by International President Leo W. Gerard. Charlie has devoted many years to SOAR in the performance of his duties as Secretary-Treasurer. Those of us who have had the opportunity to work with him have firsthand knowledge of his dedication and leadership. His work on the “SOAR Chapter-Connection” is just one example. I am pleased that he is still working on it. Jim Centner, SOAR Director, is retiring June 1. I have found Jim’s dedication, leadership and work for SOAR untiring, su…