Veteran’s Opinion

Let’s start with the fact, I am a Veteran. I have been a patient of the Veteran’s medical system for the last 15 years after my legs went bad.

Okay this is where things can get a bit confusing. The 1st time I became a part of the Veteran’s Medical System was after an honorable discharge in 1985. I enlisted in the VA Medical System because was the only medical insurance I could afford while I tried to go to school. This lasted until I took a job at the VA Hospital and worked there for almost 6 years. During those 6 years I had ‘private’ medical insurance and as an employee I had to seek my care in the civilian world. Eventually I was medically laid off because of my legs going bad. Then my insurance began rejecting treatments and procedures. That is when I returned to the VA medical system.

So as you can see I am quite familiar with both VA medical system and ‘private medicine.’ as both patient and employee. So you see I can honestly compare the 2 system.

With that said and as Ed Shultz says ‘Let’s get to work.’

The years I worked at the Denver VA Hospital it taught me that the hospital was working at capacity. There was a time we had more patients then we had beds. Often this was the result of what we called ‘dumps’. A dump is when one of the for profit hospital discovers that one of their patients is indigent or if patients insurance had reached its capacity for the year and were not going to pay anything more. If the patient is a veteran they would move that patient to a local VA Hospital.

I remember when I was assigned to a surgical intensive care unit a veteran was rolled in attached to every portable life support there was. His paperwork showed he was a ‘dump’.

Then came the budget cuts. Thanks to the republican cuts we had to close 2 wards and a medical intensive care unit. Those now unused patient rooms were turned into offices no one use and a st0ore room with nothing in it.
Then came a rare moment of sanity in which congress recognized PTSD and Agent Orange as real medical conditions. Doubling the patient load.

Now thanks to 2 useless manufactured wars the VA Patient load is quadrupling. These Veterans are seeking care with traumas and injuries that in World War II meant death.

Last year republicans cut another 29 billion from Veteran’s budget. The sequestration budget cut another 10% was cut from the VA Budget. During the Bush/Cheney years $60 billion was cut from the VA budget. Good old super smart Paul Ryan fixed it so veterans will not be getting a cost of living raise for 3 years. Hell, He has made it clear he wants to cut all disability payments to Vets and to everybody else getting help for that matter. As part of his war on wasteful social spending.

So what I don’t get is why republicans are uptight about doctor’s being forced to see 20 or more patients in day and not being able to give their patients the time they need. Plus patients waiting several months or more for visits to specialty doctors or their primary doctor.

Anyway it seems to me strange that republicans are upset because Vets are slipping through the cracks and dying.
Well that’s my rant.

Next week back to Bankruptcy

Veteran’s Day

As you have probably have guessed this is going to be another opinion piece.

This Veteran’s day I have spent it watching news and television shows honoring Veterans.  I saw stories of men and women black, white, brown and asain. Men and Women who when asked placed themselves at risk to protect our way of life. Even after finding out they were lied to by their leaders, finding out there was no threat kept their promise to our country and stayed on duty.  Male and female soldiers grievously wounded but able to run away, who stayed and fought off deadly attacked to protect friends and fellow soldiers who could no longer protect themselves.

A White brother who gave up his life to protect a fallen Black brother.  A Black sister who risked all to rescue a trapped Asian brother.  A Brown brother who led the charge bringing relief to soldiers cut off. A pilot who risks death and court martial to fly into heavy enemy fire to rescue dying solders. A nurse who fights off an attack to protect wounded soldiers placed in her care. The rescue of an enemy child.

A pundit once said the first thing a real soldier gives up to survive combat is the ability to see skin color. The only color a true soldier who tasted combat can see is the green.

When you choose to become a soldier promises are made. Promises of help in finding a good paying job after you put away your gun. Promise of education to make your dream a reality. Promises of help in buying the home of your dreams.  A promise that while you risk all for your country, your loved one and your children will be cared for. Promise that there will be help in making the educational dreams of your children real.  Promises of help dealing with the physical pain of combat. Promise of help of adapting to the world after surviving your combat injuries. Promises of help in dealing with the emotional pain of war. Promises of help in living with the horrors of war.

Only to be told when you get off the plane and set down your weapon. All those promises your country made, ‘we will get around to them eventually. It may take 3 maybe 4 years for us to keep those promises but we will get to them. No worries.’   ‘In the mean time you are on your own.’

Then to be told “Thank you for your service you are such a hero.”

Now two or three years into patient waiting for those promises to be kept. With 1.6 million veterans and their families without medical insurance, 1.4 million veterans and their families now homeless. With millions more veteran families barely surviving on food stamps.

Now the Tea party republicans is the house of representatives who have never spent a day in uniform, never risked or worked for anything are saying ‘you know keeping those promises is going to cost just too much so we shouldn’t keep those promises’, ‘Oh yeah, food stamps cost too much money so we should cut food stamps but not the million dollar subsides to million dollar hobby famers. Those subsidies are just too important to cut sorry about that.”