A lot of people have been talking about the VA and what America’s veterans need in terms of healthcare. But for the first time, the Vet Voice Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, actually took the time to ask veterans what they think. And the results will change everything you thought about the VA.
This bipartisan poll revealed veterans from every walk of life vastly prefer to get their care at VA hospitals as opposed to private, for-profit hospitals. Eight in 10 veterans believe their health care should be paid in full, not a voucher which may not cover all costs. They believe that being forced to shop for care on the open market—instead of being treated by VA doctors and nurses—means their health care will suffer, and they will end up footing the bill for claims that are denied or only partially paid.
The poll of over 800 veterans found that large majorities of veterans are getting quality care at their local VA hospital and throughout the system overall. Most veterans think the VA hospitals in their area:
This is no surprise, because the VA is the only healthcare system in the nation specifically built to serve the unique needs of veterans. The VA serves every veteran, from every war, with any injury, making it the cornerstone of our nation's promise to the servicemen and women who answered the call when their country needed them.
“There is a lot of debate about 'choice' in veterans care, but when presented with the details of what 'choice' means, veterans reject it. They overwhelmingly believe that the private system will not give them the quality of care they, and veterans like them, deserve. Further, they strongly believe that the VA—not the private system—is best equipped to deal with their needs, and the needs of veterans like them," said Jon Soltz, Chairman of the Vet Voice Foundation.
So, what does this mean for Congress?
“Veterans have spoken loud and clear: they believe Congress should fix the VA health care system, not dismantle it,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
How to do that?
The VA needs to hire more expert staff. VA hospitals are the place where veterans can get care from experts who care about veterans. But USA Today recently reported that with over 41,000 medical staff vacancies, there just aren’t enough medical professionals to meet the demand.
Congress needs to stop efforts to privatize the VA and focus on strengthening it. Veterans fought for our country. And now they don’t want to fight for quality health care while private and for-profit health insurance corporations profit from them.