Opinion Pieces Address Veterans' Health Care
Veterans' Health Care
Summaries of several editorials and opinion pieces that address issues related to health care for veterans appear below.
- Charlotte Observer:"Thousands of veterans are going without adequate health care," and"too many political leaders have been content to let these and otherveterans languish," an Observer editorial states.According to the editorial, a "yearlong probe of inadequate health careand benefits for veterans" conducted by the Observer has "exposed the lackadaisical way the Department of Veterans Affairshas addressed these issues." The investigation "shows that veterans'medical facilities are woefully unprepared to care for the numbers andkinds of injuries VA facilities are getting," the editorial states,adding, "We can truly honor veterans by demanding that the presidentand lawmakers quickly fix the daunting health and housing problems somany veterans face" (Charlotte Observer, 11/11).
- Long Island Newsday: "This Veterans Day, there are a few signs of hope, but there are plenty of reasons for outrage," a Newsdayeditorial states. According to the editorial, the Senate should"overwhelmingly" pass a bill that would authorize $75 million over fiveyears to "improve outreach to veterans." The editorial concludes, "Toreally support the troops, write the president and Congress to get thisand other lapses in care fixed. Veterans deserve a better reward fortheir service than illness and homelessness" (Long Island Newsday, 11/11).
- New York Times: Veterans "have been left to fend for themselves with little help from the government," a Times editorial states. According to the editorial, the "biggest stain this year was the scandalous neglect of outpatients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centerand a sluggish response to the needs of wounded soldiers at veteransclinics and hospitals" that resulted from the "Bush administration'sfailure to plan for a long war with mounting casualties and over-longtours of duty." The editorial states, "To their credit, Congress andthe administration have poured billions of added dollars into veterans'programs and streamlined procedures in a scramble to catch up with theneed." In addition, the editorial states, "The larger public has notfaced a draft, paid higher taxes or been asked to make any othersacrifice. The least a grateful nation should do is support the troopsupon their return" (New York Times, 11/12).
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "Too many" veterans are "fighting harder to survive now than when they were in the military," an Inquirer editorial states. According to the editorial, a recent Harvard Medical Schoolstudy found that about 1.8 million veterans and 3.8 million of theirfamily members lack health insurance. "Many of the uninsured veteransare among the working poor" and cannot afford private health insurance,but they "aren't poor enough to qualify for VA care," the editorialstates. The editorial concludes, "To truly celebrate Veterans Day, wemust do more to support veterans throughout the year" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/12).
- San Jose Mercury News:"On this holiday, resolve to urge your senators, U.S. representativeand president to rescue veterans from the ranks of the uninsured, wherethey languish in numbers that should be a national embarrassment," a Mercury Newseditorial states. The editorial states that, when veterans "get sick,they have to go to a hospital emergency room if they can't afford tosee a doctor," adding that, when "they are admitted to the hospital,they're stuck with the bill." According to the editorial, "Everyveteran should qualify for Veterans Affairs care if he or she doesn'thave private insurance," and taxpayers "should be willing to foot thatbill" (San Jose Mercury News, 11/12).
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel:"The country owes its veterans adequate care once their service hasended," but "scandals at military hospitals, inadequate funding ofveterans' health and other benefits ... demonstrates that we as acountry haven't delivered on that debt," according to a Sun-Sentineleditorial. "Let's take a moment and call our representatives andsenators in Congress and tell them to support efforts to make good onthe debt we owe our vets," the editorial states, adding, "Do it.America's vets deserve that much" (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/11).
- USA Today:"Equipping veterans to navigate civilian life, often with severe mentaland physical illnesses, has to be a national priority," but VA "has notcoped well with the deluge" of injured veterans from the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan, a USA Today editorial states. Accordingto the editorial, "President Bush and Congress need to demonstrate thatthis is a priority and that they are willing to ask taxpayers to makesmall sacrifices to honor the veterans' greater ones." Both "Bush andCongress agree that veterans' care needs a spending boost," but theyboth are "holding it hostage to more divisive issues," the editorialstates. The editorial concludes, "The nation's veterans should not endup victimized by the society for which they fought. Doing right by themrequires more than lip service and holiday parades" (USA Today, 11/12).
- Teresa Heinz/Jeffrey Lewis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:Veterans "ending long years of honorable service or coming home fromforeign wars are finding themselves stuck in an overwhelming andindifferent medical system," Heinz, chair of the Heinz Family Philanthropies, and Lewis, president of the foundation, write in a Post-Gazetteopinion piece. "What happened to the golden rule for our veterans? Whathappened to 'You serve and defend your country, and your country willserve and care for you,'" the authors write. They add, "By creatingrelationships between veterans," VA and the federally qualifiedcommunity health centers funded by HHS,"our ability to care for our veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan or any eracould be expanded dramatically -- almost overnight." In addition, theauthors write, "Even as Washington debates when and how to bring ourservicemembers back from Iraq, there should be no debate that everyveteran deserves timely, accessible, high-quality health care when heor she comes home" (Heinz/Lewis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/11).
- Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Asbury Park Press:"For years, veterans have complained about inadequate care, long waitsfor service and insufficient benefits," and "[t]hose problems have onlyworsened over the last five years," highlighted earlier this year bythe problems with the conditions at Walter Reed, Pallone writes in a Park Pressopinion piece. In response, Congress over the last 10 months "has mademeeting the needs of our veterans and our military personnel a toppriority" with the passage of several bills that seek to improve healthcare for veterans, Pallone writes. He concludes, "This Veterans Day, aswe honor the men and women who served in wars past and present, it isimportant that we continue to recommit ourselves to ensuring thisnation keeps its promise to meet the needs of all our veterans"(Pallone, Asbury Park Press, 11/11).
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