I’ve been a civilian all of my life, and don’t understand the military as a whole. I’m not convinced that the military is ONLY responsible for the freedom we have in America, but without it there wouldn’t be freedom. There’s a lot of decisions made by our Commander-In-Chief and military leaders that I completely disagree with, but I don’t think our troops should pay for the mistakes of bad leadership. I also don’t feel like it’s my place to speak about issues that hit so hard against veterans, but every voice can count to try and bring attention to injustice.
At least 19 veterans died at VA hospitals in 2010 and 2011 because of delays in diagnosis and treatment. In Phoenix 40 deaths were linked to failings at a VA hospital. On top of that 26 VA hospitals are being investigated for treatment delays and falsifying records. Between August 1, 2014 and February 28, 2015 nearly 894,000 appointments at the VA failed to meet the timeliness goal that patients be seen within 30 days. Approximately one in 36 patient visits involved a delay of at least a month. And almost 232,000 of those appointments involved a delay of longer than 60 days. One report showed that 1,700 veterans were kept on such waiting lists, and veterans waited an average of 115 days for an initial primary care appointment. And the most egregious thing about the deaths, is the VA is falsifying records to receive bonuses of up to $33,000 despite a backlog of hundreds of thousands of benefits.
Inspector General Richard Griffin at a Senate hearing on the state of the VA’s health care. “It’s one thing to be on a waiting list, it’s another for that to be the cause of death.” Places so far reported to have this problem are Phoenix; Fort Collins, Colorado; Miami; Columbia, S.C.; Pittsburgh,  as well as Cheyenne, Wyoming; Gainesville, Florida; Durham, North Carolina; and San Antonio.
I remember a few years back speaking to a veteran who told me that he did everything in his power to avoid going to the VA for his medical problems by using private insurance he was able to get by being successful when he got out of the military. I also spoke with a different veteran who claimed the VA did everything in their power to fix the problems he had. I have my own problems I deal with that are not so unlike what a veteran deals with, and if my voice counts at all I would give them one piece of advice. Do the best you can to take care of yourself in every way to minimize having to use the VA hospitals. Having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping the mind active and positive can go a long way towards having overall health, which can keep you out of the hospital.
Also, if you’re on a wait list that doesn’t seem to be moving, find a way to see a doctor. Sometimes local clinics are inexpensive and can help take care of minor things that need to be handled immediately rather than have them turn into major things. For instance, if you have a cold that you think turned into a sinus infection that is not getting better, spend the $100+ to go to a local clinic that might get you the diagnosis for medication before it turns into pneumonia. Trust yourself and use common sense. It might be prudent to remember that the military runs like a socialist community, and our government is turning to socialism. In socialism, the weak, sick, and disabled are usually not useful to the nation, no matter how much of a hero you are or once were. My truths might be disconcerting, but Obamacare is designed for the government to seize control of the entire health care industry; so we are all in this together.