Sparks flew as friendly fire was exchanged between Congressman Steven Palazzo and veterans at Tuesday’s forum in Biloxi to discuss healthcare. Many military members wanted answers and demanded their voices be heard.
Therron Ducharme, an Air Force veteran, is angry. He says the federal healthcare offered to him and fellow U.S. veterans is a sham and that their honor is simply being used to make others money. Ducharme says, "If we're gonna’ keep this system in place, I would rather it be 100% ran by veterans that are messing all of this up, instead of people who are just drawing paychecks and pensions off of veterans."
Ducharme is just one of the 50 or so veterans who voiced their concerns to Congressman Palazzo during his forum in Biloxi on Tuesday. Army veteran, Darren DeFlanders, says he understands why the room was full of tension. DeFlanders says, "They do their due process for serving their country, and the system fails them and that’s very frustrating, so I can understand why so much anger is here today.”
Palazzo knows not to take it personally and says it's his job to relay the veterans’ message to Washington. Palazzo says, "They feel like they're being lied to, they feel like they're being manipulated and not receiving the quality healthcare they deserve, and that's my job, that the VA reforms itself.”
As things heated up at the forum, the veterans made one thing clear: they want those who've mistreated them to be prosecuted. DeFlanders closes, "We need to bring accountability to these hospitals all across the country who are affecting these veterans and their healthcare."
Congressman Palazzo assures veterans that their voices are being heard and that legislation towards making healthcare more accessible is on its way.