When Trump was elected I had high hopes that Veterans would finally get the attention and care that they need. It didn’t take long for that hope to turn to reality and to understand that promises are great, but only when they are carried out.
Two years ago President Obama signed a bill into law that created Veterans Choice Healthcare. The program was intended to help Veterans who were dealing with long wait times, excessive travel times, and overall lack of care. The promise was that you could use private hospitals and doctors and that the Government would reimburse them. Shortly thereafter I was faced with a medical crisis and, in my case, was eligible to use the program. From day one I had nothing but trouble navigating the complex system. As a result of what I learned from my experience, I started a website/facebook page called Veterans Choice Healthcare. With no solicitation, the page exploded with comments from hundreds of Veterans who were dealing with the same issues and searching the interweb for help. Here is a sample from the site:
This site is intended as a sounding board for Veterans to air their experiences with the “Choice” program. The more reports we get here will help in our efforts to get Veterans the healthcare they deserve. There is a huge problem and Veterans are dying as a result of inadequate healthcare and policies. Please tell any Vet you know to join us in this campaign to save lives and get Vets better care. Listen to these comments and visit the stories page for more. Also, go to our Facebook page, VeteransChoiceHealthcare for more stories, comments, and cries for help, like the following, from Veterans who have tried to use the program………………….
“I would classify it more like an aggregation, a government scam, a veterans death list, a widow maker” ……… “I truly believe that this is the governments way of stealing more money, offering non-existent healthcare to Veterans only to watch them DIE a slow agonizing Death. Choice as a name is a JOKE, there is NO CHOICE”……….”The patient shouldn’t do anything but focus on healing. And I feel mistreated as a veteran and a patient…..”This so called program IS A FALLACY and a LIE to the Vets and the American People.”……………. “Choice is now NOT PAYING the doctors. Billing the VETS; then saying don’t worry about it and now VETS are getting BILLED and affecting their credit ratings.
The website reflects many stories and the load become so heavy that I couldn’t keep up the website and chose to let the Veterans and the Facebook page, which was more effective, do the talking. It continues to explode, with each story becoming more heart wrenching and beyond belief. These are Veterans who fight every day for the safety and well-being of America. And they are getting screwed!
Yesterday I got a bill from the V.A. for medical services I had nearly two years ago, with each item clearly indicating that this was care I received through Vets Choice. It came out of the blue and I was shocked, dismayed, mortified and pissed. In short I was charged a co-pay for treatments I had to have for 35 straight days. A co-pay for every day, stating that I was seeing a specialist. Admittedly, it is hard for me to remember what specifically went on during those few months. But I do know that no one ever informed me of these charges back then, and when I finally was fully recovered and left that nightmare behind me, I now get a painful reminder of how screwed up that system is. Not good for Veterans, and especially not good for someone facing life threatening circumstances who is urged by his doctor to “relax” and let your body heal. Back then I spent more time on the phone with Vets Choice trying to get those treatments “authorized” than I should have, and now I’m faced with an even longer fight to find out why I am being charged in this manner, TWO YEARS LATER. And instead of a Tax refund, the IRS is diverting MY MONEY to the program.
Mine is just one of thousands of cases of which I deem, “abuse” to Veterans everywhere.
Now I echo the broken english words of President Trump: “And these Vets who have been treated so poorly, so poorly, we are going to take care of them, big time, and I mean big time, they deserve it”. How many times did you hear him say that during that bizarre campaign?
What is easy to see in the first 100 days is that no one in Government really gives a crap about Veterans or Americans in general. Obama created Veterans Choice because of Veterans that were dying in Phoenix (among other places), because of a corrupt V.A. system. Nothing has changed. So now the battle in Washington begins.
First he will “repeal and replace Obamacare”. Next he will have to figure out how to fix the V.A. Then comes Veterans Choice? I will remind everyone that the words Veterans Choice Healthcare have never been uttered during the past two-year battle for the White House, and I wonder how many Americans even know the program exists.
President Trump, and all of America is learning quickly how hard it is going to be to get any of these promises taken care of. Too many politicians on both sides are more interested in fighting across the aisles and “winning” their agendas. Whether Obama’s hands were tied for eight years, or Trump’s are being tied now, Veteran’s are a forgotten entity and the shame should be placed squarely on Washington. Trump promised to build a stronger defense. Until Veteran’s healthcare is “fixed” I wouldn’t recommend joining the service under the impression that our country will be grateful, and care for you, in thanks for all you do to protect and serve the United States. Getting healthcare for our Veterans is moving down the list and it’s going to be a long road with a Democrat at every intersection. Can’t we agree on at least this issue?
The trick is to get someone’s ear, to finally have some Representative pay attention, to get on Fox News or CNN or somewhere, to get visibility. Without recommending rock throwing, window smashing, and setting fires, I urge every Veteran, spouse, relative or friend of a Vet to join in this “war” to get the word out as to what is going on, contact your representative to remind them how much this means, and walk softly but CARRY A BIG STICK. (before you get the big stick shoved where you don’t want it) God Bless our Veterans and God Bless America.