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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

A Real National Tragedy

Date: 10 November, 2003

By: Chief

Imageost of the people I have talked with, friends, neighbors and strangers alike agree that (a) the current war in Iraq, which is officially over — kind of, is wrong and (b) they have the utmost respect for our troops.

That, believe you me, is nice to hear. It is almost music to my ears. I just wish that three groups, all of which are headquartered in Washington, D.C., who continue to heap praises upon troops would put our money where their mouths are. I am talking about the Congress, the President and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the DVA. Also known as the "VA."

Some of our VA benefit programs work real well. Such as the VA home loan. That particular program allowed me to buy my very first and only house, truth be told. The GI bill used to work superbly until Congress started tinkering with it to 'make it better'. Now it only works so-so. Typical.

The benefit which is most important to veterans is, naturally, the one which to call it an abomination would be a prize understatement. That benefit is VA medical care and associated hospitals.

Our Congress and President send our young troops off to fight a war — which is fully funded at all times, by the way. A great many of our troops come back from said war chewed up and spit out. Some for life. And our much touted VA medical care benefit cannot, or should I say will not, deal with most of them. That blows.

The age range of veterans that I am talking about is the Vietnam veteran and forward to today's veteran. Veterans of Korea, World War II and World War I can receive health care from, and here is another insult, Medicare. Medicare sucks.

The VA medical system and hospitals were initially set up and funded by Congress for veterans and veterans only. No one else need apply. That was our guarantee of 'free' medical coverage for life when we got out or retired. Well, and I do hate to say this, that was then and this is now and Congress as usual, or should I say once again, reneged on their commitment to us — the veterans.

The VA medical system sucks

VA hospitals are old, poorly maintained, under staffed, under funded and quite literally stink. The waiting times to be seen by a doctor are from 60 days to 18 months on average. I'm not kidding when I write that. Just ask the Disabled American Veterans organization. They can tell you an ear full and it will be all fully documented as well. The DAV is one hell of a good organization and if you are a disabled veteran reading this, be sure to check out the DAV website. Just maybe they can be of help. What have you got to lose?

On top of that is the rather sordid fact that VA hospitals are located in major cities. Here in New Mexico there is exactly one VA hospital, in Albuquerque. I live oh, just about 260 miles, one way from Albuquerque. That makes it a 520 mile round tripper. Sure, you bet, I'll just head on up there tomorrow to get some Tylenol. Blithering federale idiots.

There is some kind of VA clinic located about 38 miles south of where I live. But the clinic cannot even write prescriptions, let alone dispense them. Additionally, they can't do such rudimentary things such vision tests and issue corrective glasses. So what is the point of having a medical 'clinic' that cannot do a damn thing? Answer — nothing.

That is the problem. The VA is a political creature. All politicians want to be shown as supporting the VA. And the VA says look at what we have done. We have opened all these clinics in rural areas to better assist our veterans. Bullshit. I know better than that.

The best thing that can happen to the current fiasco known as the VA medical care and hospital benefit is to shut them down. Just close the doors. Then contract out to local hospitals and doctor's offices. That way more veterans can actually make use of a benefit for which we are all paying now and for the foreseeable future. The VA owned facilities could be either be leased or sold outright. Either method could be used for partial funding of the new VA medical care system. It isn't perfect but the idea is far better than what we currently are stuck with.

The state of affairs of the VA medical care and hospitals are, indeed, a national tragedy. We should be ashamed, each and every one of us, for this abomination. We should in turn contact our federal representatives and not ask but demand that this sorry state of affairs be fixed. Fixed posthaste and permanently.

No veteran who has been honorably discharged or retired should be without good medical care. The federales made that commitment to us and they made it for life. Not until we turn 65 or some other rot. As such, we need to hold their feet to the fire until the goober-ment makes good on their commitment — to our satisfaction. Hell, there illegal immigrants who have better health coverage than veterans. A travesty of no small proportion let me tell you. Additionally, most states have some sort of indigent health coverage for those people who either cannot work or do not make enough money to pay the exorbitant cost of medical insurance. And they have better health care coverage than most veterans do.

We have kids, 18 years old, some of them, coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan with wounds, missing arms, legs, eyes, scarred bodies in short, who will never be able to do the things they used to be able to do. Never be able to live the dreams they dreamed. Yet our federal government does not view them as a priority. They were, of course, when the fighting was going on. But now that they are wounded or disabled and out of the military they are no longer important. To be sure, most of the time our government views our disabled veterans as a drain on scarce resources — tax money. That sucks donkey dicks a nickel a herd.

Remember, We the People paid them, our elected idiots sent them overseas to fight a war. Our veterans must not be relegated to the back of the bus, as they currently are.

Nuff said about that.

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