Paul Sullivan / Veterans for Common Sense – 2008-11-14 23:03:15
The Honorable Barack Obama
Dear President-Elect Obama:
Congratulations on your election. As our next President of the United States of America, you face a serious challenge in fixing a badly broken Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and improving the delivery of health care and other services to our nation’s veterans and their families. As a leading national veterans’ organization, Veterans for Common Sense respectfully submits to you our recommendations on how to fix VA and help our veterans and their families.
Our vision is that whenever a veteran comes to any VA facility, his or her medical and benefit needs should be quickly and completely addressed, without red tape, delay, stigma, or discrimination. For too many veterans this vision is a fantasy, however, because recent VA leadership has failed to put our veterans first and has inadequately funded vital services and programs.
VA needs an immediate overhaul to avert a perfect storm of problems threatening to overwhelm VA. First, the economic recession is forcing more veterans who have lost their jobs and medical care into VA. Second, VA faces a tsunami of up to one million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans flooding into VA. And, third, VA faces a surge of hundreds of thousands of additional Vietnam War veterans seeking care for mental health conditions as well as medical conditions linked to Agent Orange poisoning.
VCS offers our recipe to overhaul VA that contains three critical ingredients: bold leadership, streamlined policies, and mandatory funding. When all three elements are combined and enacted simultaneously, reform will be comprehensive for VA’s nearly $100 billion annual budget providing 5.5 million veterans with medical care and 3 million veterans and family members with disability benefits. These reforms complement the passage of several new laws reforming VA passed by Congress during the past two years.
We look forward to working with you to assist our Nation’s veterans and their families.
Veterans for Common Sense