I volunteered at 17 over 69 years ago to join the US Navy and served nearly five years. I have never had to ask our government for any healthcare and I am now 86 years old. I did get GI home loan that was fully paid back and the State of Texas gave me a veterans loan to buy some acreage that was also fully paid back. I never asked for or received any Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare nor do I intend to.
My 40 years in the work place allowed me to earn Social Security and at 65 I received Medicare healthcare benefits. I have found that many young people believe that Medicare is free. Medicare for my wife and I along with the premiums for the Medicare supplements including Part D drugs exceed $700.00 each month. I have included this information for you to understand why I am fortunate to avoid having to use VA.
Veterans that live in rural areas are provided healthcare and drugs if their income is less than the poverty level. I will use a good friend as my example to share what he faces to get healthcare. We are the same age. If he needs to see a doctor he has to travel 60 miles to Lufkin Texas when he can get an appointment that can take two weeks. If he can be treated and medicated in Lufkin he just has to drive back 60 miles to get home. Should his condition require special testing or a specialists he must board a free bus to travel to Houston some 150 miles.
Now when illegal aliens, citizens without funds need to see a doctor they can go to the emergency room at the Sabine County Hospital and get a aspirin for a headache free. They do not have to get an appointment and they cannot be refused treatment. They have no insurance and “We the People” pay hospital taxes to provide this free service.
Congress and a parade of Presidents have allowed this inequity to exist for over 50 years. The Veterans get promises and the illegals and deadbeats get free local healthcare.
Folks, we finally elected a new President, Donald Trump, who has promised to fix this inequity. If the VA is staffed and managed like other government operations it is likely bloated and never has to be evaluated or regulated like our local hospitals. Congress and the 13 Presidents since I was born just ignore the millions of Americans that have served in our Military either by the draft or like myself volunteered. WHY?
Mr. Trump is not a politician, a lawyer, or a bureaucrat that can’t or refuses to find a job that requires performance measurements like industry. They do not have to make a profit to keep their jobs. We have agencies like the Department of Education, Energy Department that are useless like the Environmental Protection Agency that just crank out useless regulations that add nothing but costs to the products and services we pay for.
I hope and pray that Trump will not only have a performance audit of the VA but actually shut the operation down and make the VA hospitals operate like private hospitals and actually make a profit. Make Government employees work until they are 65 like we do in industry instead of retiring in their 50’s on pensions worth more than those in the work force at 65.
My greatest hope is that President Trump will choose a leader for the VA that is not a lawyer, a bureaucrat, a large doner to his election or a retired General. Officers at retirement do not have to use the VA to get healthcare. I hope he will choose a “Grunt” who has become a success or successful businessman like himself to evaluate and manage the VA.
In recent years auditing of everyday operations or even deeply complicated functions have been imposed on industry and some government operations by qualified and government approved and accredited organizations. Systems are in place to do evaluation audits of any function our government performs. When Congress and a President awaken to use this proven way to evaluate and function the government provides we will see a huge savings for duplication alone.
Trump or at least his management teams are familiar with this asset and process improvement requirements. If he can’t do everything he has promised, please do not forget the veterans. Our recent casualties in fighting wars with no possible advantage for America deserve the same healthcare as veterans of the world wars we have fought for the bankers.
I know he will never see this plea but he is an honorable man and he will help our veterans. His biggest problem will be Congress who have never cared for our veterans. If they did care we would not have over 400 organizations who beg for donations to help veterans. Sadly most use most of their donations to pay for administration that usually consume over half of the money they receive.
The VA let my good friend Bob Klosterman die at age 69 while waiting for treatment this year. He would be alive today if he could have received treatment on Medicare like I receive. Why not put veterans on Medicare and pay for their supplements so they could get treatment locally? C Brewer