The president can no longer ignore troubling delays and rumors of negligence at VA hospitals across the U.S. “President Obama expressed outrage about allegations of misconduct at veterans hospitals and said that people in the Department of Veterans Affairs — including Eric Shinseki, its secretary — could be punished if investigations revealed wrongdoing,” The New York Times reported Wednesday. In a simple and to-the-point statement, Obama summed up his feelings. “I will not stand for it,” Obama continued.
What Does Obama Plan To Do?
For now, the president is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary, Eric Shinseki, to produce detailed reports — either confirming or disproving alarming delays in veterans healthcare and VA disability benefits. In the meantime, the administration will work to improve delays that resulted in at least 30 unnecessary deaths. “[Obama] said officials had reduced waiting times for getting benefits, even as they have expanded the number of veterans who can get access to benefits for different conditions,” The New York Times explains. Obama concluded his speech by asking Americans not to make VA health delays, veterans health, and military trauma a divided issue. Democrats and Republicans should work together to help veterans, Obama adds.
Will Corrective Measures Be Enough?
Although the delays definitely deserve attention — and the president asking for these reports is certainly a step in the right direction — some veterans attorneys and veterans lawyers point out that there is still a lot to be done. Veterans’ mental health and corresponding mental health programs, for example, consistently fall short. Survivors of abuse and vets suffering from PTSD are committing suicide at alarming rates. In fact, 22 veterans commit suicide per day. These figures show that, in addition to physical healthcare programs, mental health programs also need to be addressed.
The president is finally addressing troubling delays in veterans healthcare — but is it enough? Survivors of abuse and PTSD sufferers are taking their lives in shocking numbers, and VA hospitals — and the president — should work to do something about that, too. See this reference for more.