WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is proud to support a new House resolution submitted by Reps. Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, and Mark Takano Wednesday. The resolution “supports policies that provide necessary resources to serve veterans by maintaining a robust Veterans Health Administration,” and “opposes policies that would jeopardize care for veterans by moving essential resources away from the Veterans Health Administration and into the private sector.”
“The VA offers veterans the best healthcare available in the country, and it’s in danger of being ripped away from them by those looking to dismantle the VA and auction it off to the lowest bidder,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “We fully support the principle that no one should profit off of our veterans’ war wounds, and we need to keep our promise to those that have served our country,” he added.
In early July, the Congressionally-chartered Commission on Care released its final report, which called for the closure of VA medical centers over the next two decades through a BRAC-like process. The closures would be overseen by a corporate-style board, and would force veterans into unprepared private, for-profit providers of healthcare in their communities. After the release of the report, AFGE’s Cox said the proposals would, “dismantle the nation’s largest and best healthcare system, hurting veterans and exploding costs,” and urged President Obama to reject the recommendations of the “horrendously anti-veteran document.”
“The VA is a leader in medicine in this country,” said Cox. “Numerous studies have shown how it outperforms the private sector care in primary and mental care; and veterans have overwhelmingly said they don’t want to lose it. Fact is, 80 percent of veterans don’t want a voucher system, and 64 percent don’t want to lose the VA. It’s scary that despite the clear objection of veterans, proposals like the Commission’s are gaining traction. Even more disturbing is how veterans are in danger of being forced into a private healthcare system where only 13 percent of mental health providers are even capable of treating them.”
“We cannot let the future healthcare of our nation’s veterans take a backseat to corporate profits, and we must keep our promise to those that have borne the battle,” Cox added.
The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and the Union Veterans Council have signed on in support of the resolution.