William Thien

It Is Time for Health Care Choices for Veterans

Posted on: July 17, 2014

Being a veteran I am acutely aware of the staffing shortage some of the VA Hospitals have been facing and the problems with scheduling that have been brought to the fore recently, scheduling problems resulting in delays that then resulted in the deaths of veterans.

I think the solution to the problem is rather simple. Instead of forcing veterans to attend a Veterans Administration Hospital for treatment, we as a country should pay for veterans to obtain treatment on the open market at a local hospital in their community instead of having to travel to a V.A. Hospital.

Paying for veterans to obtain medical care on the open market makes huge financial sense, for one thing. Some veterans have to be transported great lengths to receive treatment since they live hundreds of miles from the nearest VA Hospital. When scheduling exceeds capability to provide medical care, give the veteran the option of visiting another medical facility on the open market. Why let a medical problem exacerbate itself and become more expensive because we are making the veteran wait for care? Medical issues generally become more expensive to treat the longer into the condition or malady, any doctor will tell you that. Since we use tax payer dollars to pay for the treatment, why make it more expensive?

Our elderly who have not offered up their lives for their country or served in the military are eligible for free medical care and we do not make them go to a special hospitals for “the elderly” like we make our veterans attend VA Medical facilities. Could you imagine what would happen if we made our elderly visit special hospitals for the elderly? Could you imagine the political cacophony of screams coming from the retired? They are making us go to “death hospitals!” It is a valid fear really. So why do we force our veterans to do just that, visit special, overcrowded hospitals?

Let me add that I am not saying we should dismantle the current VA Hospital system, quite the contrary. We should enhance it. Certain war related catastrophic wounds are best treated by specialists who see that type of injury all of the time. But not all such battlefield injuries require those types of specialists. Therefore, I believe we can fund enhancements to our VA Hospital system through properly managing care for our veterans by providing choices.

My local VA hospital is an excellent facility and has not had any of the problems we have been hearing about in the news. But veterans who live in the northern part of the state have to travel hundreds of miles to receive advanced medical care and their families often have to stay several nights away from their homes when there are local hospitals right there in their own community offering the same care. Why do we put them through that? Again, could you imagine the raucous cries if we made the elderly do that, travel half way across the country for care? And most of them haven’t even served in the military.

I think this is a better way of dealing with the problem of overburdened VA facilities. Use of the facilities is slated to increase as The US draws down in Afghanistan completely so the problems are likely to get worse.

It’s time to give our veterans a choice option when it comes to care.

It is an indication of the failure of our country’s entitlement culture when we pay for our elderly to use whatever hospital they choose and they have not even served in the military while we force our veterans, many of them elderly themselves in to crowded VA Hospitals. It is just plain wrong. Veterans pay taxes too AND have served their country. So why are they being treated like second class citizens?

It’s time to give veterans a choice when it comes to receiving medical care. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes huge financial sense.

Contact your Senators and Congressmen and tell them you think veterans should have a choice to receive care on the open market by clicking here Find Your Elected Representatives and send them an email.

You will be doing every veteran in America a big favor and saving yourself some money at the same time. And that’s what America is really all about. It ain’t about entitlements.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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