Military veterans, beware. I am writing to inform your readers that the current government in Washington, DC, is seriously considering privatizing the Veterans Administration's health services and entrusting the welfare of US veterans to business magnates such as than the Koch brothers and other for-profit entrepreneurs. .
This is an urgent issue for all Alaskan veterans and non-veterans. Whether you use the VA or not, it is there for most veterans, if need be.
At this time, new rules are being developed that will govern how veterans can access taxpayer-funded medical care in their communities under the new mission law. These rules are expected to come into effect in June. This legislation was passed to give veterans better access to care, which is great, but the Mission Act allows for the transfer of veterans' care out of the AV and into the private sector, where the profit – and not the well-being of patients – is the main motivator.
What is at stake is the future care for millions of Americans who have served our country. For some veterans, this service has resulted in emotional and / or physical scars that they will carry all their lives. For some of these veterans, the scars are obvious: lost limbs or severe physical disabilities. Others suffer from toxic wounds after being poisoned with Orange Agent or pesticides. Younger veterans have suffered severe brain damage in recent wars. And of course, there are emotional scars and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our veterans need the best care available from the Veterans Administration's health services. Veterans know that the VA is the best place for treatment. The VA is the only place that offers treatment specifically designed for veterans and where doctors, nurses and other caregivers are trained to look for service-related illnesses such as toxic wounds and PTSD. One study at a time shows that care provided in the VA is equal to or greater than that of the private sector. Read the following article for more information: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2018/12/13/va-hospitals-often-the-best-option-for-medical-care-study-finds/. In addition, treating a veteran in the VA is cheaper than in the private sector – partly because nothing can make a profit. There is no incentive for profit when working for the federal government with a salary.
At present, unions, including National Nurses United and the American Federation of Government Employees, are fighting privatization. The current administration is trying to silence this opposition and has defended the unions by blocking contract negotiations, issuing executive decrees designed to empty unions and eliminating the protections of workers in place for decades.
In August, two organizations – the American Legion and the Veterans for Peace – took a stand against the private company that cared for federal veterans. VFP now distributes bumper stickers across the country, writes editorials in national newspapers such as this one, and speaks on radio and television programs across the country.
We must do everything in our power to put an end to this effort. Your fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends have joined the United States Armed Forces to serve with pride. Our physical and mental health benefits should not be sold to the highest bidder.
I've used the VA for many years due to active duty injuries and illnesses. I am proud to be one of three veterans who waved banners at the Antonah VA facility and Highway Parks Highway to denounce the privatization of the city. 39; AV. If you accept that veterans' health care is not part of a lucrative business, please contact US Representative Don Young, US detective Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and tell them what you think about the privatization of care health.
Attend meetings of local leaders of the Veterans Administration and express your concerns. If you want bumper stickers or banners against the privatization of the VA Health System, contact me at the address PO Box 471, Willow, AK 99688 or (828) 230-6902.
• John Spitzberg lives in Willow. My tricks and my letters to the editor represent the opinion of the author and not that of the Juneau empire.