Most Americans will spend this 4th of July weekend with family and friends — gathered at pools, beaches, and parks — eating food off backyard grills, and watching fireworks displays.
But a number of this nation’s veterans are waiting for next Wednesday, July 6th. On that day, the Commission on Care is scheduled to release a report that details what is wrong within the VA healthcare system — and how to best go about fixing it.
Back in 2014, a Phoenix VA clinic came under scrutiny for secret waiting lists and long (sometimes months long) delays in care. When it was revealed that nearly 40 people had died while waiting for care, the VA enacted the Choice Program, which allowed veterans to receive care outside the VA.
Most believe that the end result will be the complete privatization of VA healthcare, as leaked statements from the pending 34-page report suggest that the current VA system is “seriously broken, with no efficient path to fix it.”
Reports that nearly 30% of text messages sent to veterans’ suicide hotlines go unanswered seem to support that assessment:
Nearly 30% of text messages to VA suicide hotline are going unanswered, report detailshttp://bit.ly/29hH0Im
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) June 28, 2016
While some veterans — such as Coast Guard veteran Thomas F. Day — are apprehensive about transitioning VA care to civilian hands, they say that if it would really help, they’re willing to give it a shot:
“I’m leaning towards I don’t want to see it happen, but as long as the vets are treated properly and they get the care that they’re entitled to and they need, I may be flexible in that category.”
But the VA Commission on Care, should they push for privatization, will have an uphill battle. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has staged a number of rallies protesting against privatizing healthcare for veterans.
Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded in part by the Koch brothers, has long supported privatization.
In addition to the Commission report, the Senate is also moving forward with a bill that would force more transparency from the VA — specifically, the public would be made aware when VA officials received bonuses.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) has spoken out in support of the bill, saying, “you can’t have this juxtaposition of failure and controversy or scandal followed by bonuses. It makes no sense, and it’s got to be reined in.”
Source: independent journal
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