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Politicians Mine for Votes While Veterans Continue To Get the Shaft

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/11/2015 Dustin DeMoss

Only one year after a massive scandal in the Veteran's Administration, things are shoddier than ever. It's like the movie "Groundhog Day," but instead of just reliving things over and over, they get worse.
In July of 2015, Congressional members called out the Veteran's Administration for not taking care of veterans, saying their lack of accountability is the basis for the continuing problems at the troubled department.
The issue became rankle, because everyone remembers the series of high-profile Congressional hearings in 2014 that led to Congress passing the Veteran's Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.
Petty Problems Persist
Even after passing this massive legislation, problems abound:

Seriously, Maine VA? How hard is to work a calendar?
New Reality Program
The VA ranks among the biggest health care providers in the country. What has to happen before we give the proud men and women who served this country the top-notch health care they deserve? It makes you think the VA is shooting a new reality show, "Survival: The Veteran's Administration."
Is the VA beyond repair? Secretary Bob McDonald, head of the embattled Veteran's Affairs Department, doesn't think so. At the 2015 American Legion convention, he disagreed with calls to dismantle the agency, instead blaming lawmakers for failing to approve adequate funding for the agency. The House-approved VA budget for 2016 falls $1.4 billion short of the amount proposed by President Obama.
Mudslinging Begins
As soon as the Senate began considering the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which they approved in October, 2015, the political mudslinging began. Before the vote on the bill, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) blamed Republicans for continuing efforts to under fund health care for veterans. Both U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Senator John Tester (D-MT) said the Senate version of the bill falls short of the funds needed for key health programs for veterans.
Lack of Debate
Despite all protestations of politicians on both side of the aisle, the VA gets short shrift to this day. Another sign of this lack of respect is the shortage of substantive debate in the recent Republican Presidential debates.
In the September 16, 2015, Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, CA, only two candidates mentioned the difficulties at the VA at all. Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, brought up delays in the system, while front runner Donald Trump promised to improve the situation. In the previous debate for the same party, veterans only garnered a single mention as the debate wound down to a close.
Mental Health Care Stigma
The problems are exacerbated by the stigmas surrounding mental health care. Former combatants need help with mental health issues, yet avoid getting care due to fears of not getting promoted if they seek it, as well as concerns about being medicated. In this case, the government is making a strong push for improved mental health care, yet faces challenges of outdated perceptions about mental health counseling.
Our veteran population stands at more than 20 million people. The fact that veteran health care delivery continues to be sub par is a tragedy - a lack of respect for men and women in uniform, whether they are veterans yet or not.

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