USA TODAY US Edition
Reform health care, veterans deserve better
What is the Department of Veterans Affairs trying to hide?
Every American — especially the more than 21 million veterans — should be asking that question after reports that the VA has stopped being transparent about the quality of care at its hospitals. This federally mandated disclosure was supposed to allow potential patients to compare them with hospitals and clinics across the country.
Sadly, this report only reaffirms what we already know: The VA has a tendency to not be transparent and truthful with veterans. And the data the VA does release is anything but heartening. Veterans are waiting even longer than they were two years ago to see doctors or receive care at VA hospitals and clinics. The VA has also experienced a marked uptick in medical errors at its hospitals in recent years, yet it’s doing less to determine what’s causing these potentially health-endangering mistakes.
The more we learn, the clearer it becomes that the VA needs real reform — and fast. That’s why Congress must pass the Caring For Our Heroes in the 21st Century Act — the most serious VA reform plan in decades. It would expand veterans’ choices, introduce much needed accountability, and ensure that veterans can finally trust the agency charged with protecting them. Dan Caldwell Concerned Veterans for America Arlington, Va.
FACEBOOK FACEBOOK.COM/ USATODAYOPINION
I quit going to “private health care” and went back to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care, because they provided better and more timely care than the outside cash-hog doctors. Robert Benning
This is a wonderful example of how the Obama administration cares for our veterans. As a country, we take better care of illegal immigrants than we do our veterans. Harris Wilks
I go to the VA and have always received good care there. A few years ago, there was talk about doing away with the VA and going to a voucher system for veterans. I don’t believe there would be a lot of enthusiasm in the private sector under such a system. Michael Rog
To all the people clamoring for single payer health care: Government bureaucrats can’t handle the VA, they most certainly won’t be able to handle the whole country’s medical needs. Mike Smith
The VA is overworked and underpaid. These statistics have to be gathered by someone to be provided to the consumer group. This is a person who would be more useful taking care of veterans than feeding information for statistical purposes. I am glad they stopped providing it, honestly. It means one more person is working on veterans claims and health care instead of doing busy work. Mattie Rose Landry