Thursday, August 7, 2014
At Fort Belvoir, Virginia today, the President signed a Veteran's health care bill, which was passed by bi-partisan support in Congress, just before Congress left for their summer vacation. The VA Reform bill gives veterans more resources and care for the help that many of them so truly need.
The VA reform bill was passed with bi-partisan support which also begs the question as to why it took so long to get the bi-partisan bill submitted to the President. But nevertheless, the bill has passed and the President gladly signed the bill this morning. The President claims that it is a good deal, something that Veterans truly needed a long time ago. With veteran ranks growing with members from Iraq, and soon to be Afghanistan, the new bill could not have come soon enough. It will be through the test of time whether or not the bill actually addresses enough issues to make the VA process run smoothly again. The President highlighted on what the bill will actually do. Survivor benefits, educational opportunities, to improving care to veterans that experienced traumatic brain injury, but first and foremost, the bill insures that veterans have access to the care that they earned while protecting this country and fighting in foreign lands. Because of the backlog and in some cases, where veteran live that may not be near a VA facility, the President stated that specific vets will be authorized in seeking a doctor and a facility not within the VA system, thus insuring that each veteran receive the best possible care and as soon as they need it, regardless on how busy the VA doctors and hospitals are at a specific moment. Veterans that live more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA hospital or can go to a civilian hospital and acquire the care of the specific medical help that he/she needs.
During his speech, President Obama outlined some very disturbing revelations concerning health care in facilities is specific states. Longer wait times before a veteran could be seen by a doctor, sometimes when it was just too late, and in some cases more than a year, the veteran had passed away before receiving the care that he/she so desperately needed. President Obama came out and told the audience that it was wrong and outrageous. He stated how the VA will change its ways on how they do business, along with making people accountable for misconduct, and would be relieved of their duties. The wait lists are shrinking, as 215,000 veterans have been tended to since the issues with the VA have became known. Stronger management and leadership display heightened reforms that will make better the VA organization, with a new culture of accountability. People that have been directly involved hampering the VA process have been relived of their positions. The leadership team, starting with new VA Secretary McDonald, whose first order of business is to conduct town halls throughout the country so that the VA can hear the arguments and assessments of what is going on from veterans so that specific issues that can be addressed. It demonstrates a new sense of accountability that the VA needs.
The President stated that implementing the law would take time and will require focus from everyone. As time goes on, changes may have to be made and Congress may have to approve another bill, or act to amend the current bill. The disability claims backlog has now been cut in half, but the President claims that this is actually not good enough. He states that the "backlog must be eliminated". Homeless veterans must be removed from the streets, and there needs to be a special effort to end veterans homeless. Veterans in cities and towns across America deserve to be in the facilities and homes that can take care of their needs.
The President stated that more than a million Vets and family members now have attended colleges because of the post 911 GI bill, but the question is, are these Vets getting a good bargain in the schools that they enroll in. The President has rallied around companies to hire veterans and their spouses.
Specific confirmation appointments for the VA have been hampered for over a year, and the President is urging the Senate to act on nominations. Others have been waiting for months for a yes or no vote and the Congress just seems to 'do-nothing' except not to forget to go on their vacations. Actually, it is law that Congress go out on recess for vacation in August. The Senate needs to come back in September and act to put these well deserved appointments in place. The President stated that the Veterans do not have time for politics, but they need these public servants on the job right now. Throughout his speech, the President received much applause for his statements, indicating that most people in the room were believing his every word.
The news conference to be held for the new VA bill was delayed almost an hour, and indications were that it was because the President was in meetings concerning an ISIS threat to religious rites that have now been trapped on-top of a mountain with no food or water. The number of people trapped there have been reported to be around 40,000+ innocent Iraqi's. The next article most likely will be about the developments regarding what the President may do concerning humanitarian help and if and what may be done if military exercises will be held against ISIS.