Lawmakers Work on Deal in Washington to Improve Veteran Care

Reported by: Katarina Luketich
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Updated: 7/29 7:23 pm
A deal in Washington would allot $17 billion to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

Charles Snow is a local Vietnam War veteran who depends on his benefits, and like many other veterans, says he is not getting the medical attention that was promised. Snow says, “I was guaranteed this VA system when I joined the service in '63. For anyone to take that away from us vets after being promised we were taken care of the rest of our lives because we did stick our necks out there.”

Ten billion dollars of the proposed legislation in Washington would provide government paid care from private doctors for patients who either live more than 40 miles from a VA site or face a wait for more than 30 days for an appointment. Veterans tell News 25 that what's being done in Washington is a start. However, more still needs to be done. Snow also says, “You gotta’ start some place and we need to get some people in there that's really gonna’ put on a thinking cap and do what they are hired to do.”

The proposed legislation is a direct response to a scandal last spring, when many facilities were found to have been manipulating patient waiting lists to disguise long delays caused in part by shortages of doctors and nurses. Snow also says, “Start having people accountable. What they did, what they do, no matter any place in government. Politics shouldn't play into stuff like this.”

A separate $5 billion allocation of the proposed bill would pay for additional doctors and nurses to drive down patient wait times. Snow closes, “I don't believe they should just throw money at it for no reason, but there are certain areas that need to be looked at and taken care of.”

Like many other veterans, Snow is hoping their concerns can be properly addressed. Committee members on Capitol Hill are working to put the bill up for a full House and Senate vote before lawmakers adjourn for an August recess on Friday. Congressmen Steven Palazzo is one of the lawmakers in Washington working on this bill.



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