In this article published in 2014, a disabled veteran who lost both legs as a 20 year old while serving in Vietnam, repeatedly called the VA for assistance for a new wheelchair. Finally, in desperation he went to the local Lowes hardware store in an attempt to purchase the parts required to fix his wheelchair himself. While there, his wheelchair broke. The story had a happy ending only because the Lowes employees took the time to find the parts and fix his wheelchair for him on the spot. After all the media attention the VA received over the incident, Michael Sulsona promptly received a new customized wheelchair after waiting 2 years.
The Sulsona experience is just one example of the substandard care our disabled veterans receive. While I am also a disabled veteran, I am not a severely disabled veteran and also have private insurance through work that I use more than anything so I can avoid the hassle of the VA. However, the recent change in healthcare laws passed by the Obama administration have made my private insurance an extremely expensive alternative that I can no longer afford. So, I started going through the VA again. First, I made an appointment to have my blood pressure checked so I could start receiving my meds from the VA for free. To my shock, I had to wait 4 months for an appointment. For blood pressure. So, they offered me an option that sounded enticing; through the Veteran’s Choice program, I could get an appointment through a private doctor and the VA would cover the cost. That sounded like a good option, so I did that. To my shock, it only cut two weeks off of my 4 month wait time. Better than nothing, so I went. I then took the resulting prescriptions to the VA to be filled only to be told that the doctor didn’t fill out the right forms and in fact, they had no record of the appointment. End result? It is now 9 months later and I still have not received any of my 4 prescriptions from the VA.
My example is pretty mild in comparison to many others. My brother Poncho recently went to the VA to have something checked out and they found he required surgery. The only reason he got the MRI is because he went through 100 different people to force them to give him the MRI rather than waiting a full month. One obstacle down. The next issue is the surgery. The VA said they wouldn’t do the surgery and he’d have to go through Medicaid as though he was a welfare recipient. He fought some more and they finally agreed to do the surgery. However, by that time, he went to the ER because his condition had made him extremely ill and rather than waiting several more weeks for the surgery, they ended up giving it to him earlier this week. Poncho is 100% disabled from a grievous wound he received in Somalia. He is a quadriplegic and cannot just go out and get a job and find other insurance. He also shouldn’t be forced to jump through flaming hoops and be treated like a welfare recipient to get treatment. The condition he received surgery for could have easily killed him. And, it’s a condition that is easily treated. When I had a similar issue with the same organ requiring surgery, I had my MRI the next day and received surgery a couple of days later; but that was using my private insurance.
Before we get to how we fix the VA, lets quickly summarize some more publicly known incidents of the VA failing us. Click each bullet for link:
So, what do we do? How do we fix this? Well, here is the quickest most foolproof way to fix it. Pass a law forcing the Congress, the Senate, the President, the Vice President and every elected or appointed federal official to get ALL of their healthcare through the VA! That’s the short answer. By doing this, the lawmakers will find every single broken aspect of VA healthcare. They won’t stand for it. They’re too important to themselves, they are the epitome of self-entitlement, and they will demand better care. And when they start to cry and whine, they will then pass whatever measures necessary to fix the system. Guaranteed. This is the absolutely quickest and most surefire way to fix the VA healthcare system. OR….it will cause the healthcare aspect of the VA to disappear altogether, and all of us disabled veterans will then receive private insurance with no copays or deductibles. Something I believe is more cost effective than the juggernaut VA healthcare system!
Send a message to congress and the VA by clicking here to show your support on Facebook! And share this blog post all over the internet! Send it to congressmen and senators. Send it to the White House. When our country needed us, we went right away. We didn’t wait for an opportune time. We didn’t form committees to decide if we should go on your behalf. We went. We did our job. Some of us got hurt. This isn’t welfare and we don’t want your pity. We pity an America who stands idly by as it’s veterans receive substandard care after we gave you our everything. This is NOT a partisan issue. This IS a patriotic issue.
YOU THE PEOPLE HAVE THE REAL POWER IN THIS COUNTRY! STAND UP AND REMIND THE GOVERNMENT WHO IS IN CHARGE!
~ Bravo Charles
Copyright© Bravo Charles & Behind the Gun 2016