Thursday, May 04, 2006

A vet expresses himself

I received this in the mail box this mornijng and I thought it needed to be shared, many vets all over the country have written similiar letters to their own representatives.

Please forward this to ensure that my elected federal officials may judge for himself how critical this issue is becoming for veterans in South Dakota - Some of us have been forced to wait for two months for routine appointments even though the local bureaucracy has promised they are working diligently to solve the problems. Without specific interventions by a Veteran Service Office, I would still be waiting in my third month with out medications. Today I was told by the Veteran Service Officer to just be patient AND quiet for another three months or more, and the problems may be eventually worked out if we are fortunate. The obvious solution is to simply replace Dr. McCracken who has deftly engineered this entire fiasco. However, her claim will simply be that she was doing the best she could within the budget provided. As if that justifies all that veterans have be suffering for the last two months; the claim of just following orders has not been acceptable since the trials in Neuremburg. IF YOU WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR VOTING VETERANS THEN FIRE THE STAFF MEMBER RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS MESS, AND PROVIDE ADEQUATE FUNDING SO THAT THERE ARE SUFFICIENT NUMBERS OF DOCTORS ON STAFF TO SEE VETERAN PATIENTS ON THE BASIS OF WHAT THE PATIENT NEEDS - NOT WHAT THE BUDGET ALLOWS!!!!!I noted on your website that you provide "Case Work Assistance" as part of your Constituent Services - Please do something right for this "case" to solve the myriad of problems currently existing.Senator John ThuneUnited States Senate SR-383Washington, DC 20510May 3, 2006SUBJECT: Mandatory Funding Needed NowDear Sir,I have also sent this to your Washington, DC office by your email contact process on your internet web page. South Dakota's veterans are demanding answers from our elected leaders and especially need your official response to this issue that will only be evaluated or measured by the actions you demonstrate for all of us to see.The time for enactment of Mandatory Funding is RIGHT NOW - Do not wait any longer - Your delays mean veterans die!!!The following is quoted from this published news article: White House asked for $80.6 billion in 2007 for the VA, including $3.2 billion for mental health programs. But Rep. Michael Michaud, a Maine Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said the VA would need more, sooner. "What's going to happen is unless we give added resources, they're going to have to start rationing care," Michaud said. "It's going to have to start pitting veterans against veterans."Jeff Schrade, a spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said Craig was unhappy over the VA's botched estimates on health care last year. Congress now requires quarterly budget reports, which Schrade said show that VA's budgeting appears to be on track. "What concerns us is they're seeing a lot more patients than they anticipated," he said.The VA's contradictory estimates on PTSD surfaced in February. Prior to a Capitol Hill budget hearing, the agency replied to written questions from Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, ranking Democrat on the House VA panel. Asked about the need for mental health services, the VA told Evans that it expected to see 2,900 new cases in fiscal 2006, which began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. A week later, the agency issued its latest quarterly report on use of the VA by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The numbers indicated it had diagnosed 4,711 possible cases just from October through December - more in the first three months than it told Evans to expect over the entire fiscal year.But critics said that even if the annual PTSD rate was constant, the number of cases was rising nonetheless. "They continue to downplay the severity and the real size of the problem," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a platoon leader during the war. VA officials also had at the time of the February budget hearing a report from the department's Special Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It warned that the VA was unable handle services to new combat veterans as well as survivors of past wars, saying: "We can't do both jobs at once within current resources."Failure on your part to enact a mandatory funding stream is a crucial AMERICAN issue and if it means a repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts then accept the simple fact that the lives of these men and women mean more to this nation than waiting for some mythological pennies to "trickle down" to tax payers. Please note that we are smart enough to realize the political lie when it is stated - Schrade said VA budgeting appears to be on track - and is then quoted that the VA is SEEING A LOT MORE patients than they anticipated ......This time congressional leadership blaming the VA leadership will not work - the problem of funding has been know for a long time well in advance of the current status veterans face.How can anything be on track when in the first three months of a fiscal year you have almost doubled the expected numbers for an entire year. And most predictions indicate it will become far worse than any anticipations or expectations have been provided for in the budgeting process. Hate to upset your mom's apple pie perspective on veteran issues but so far the party in power has failed the veterans even more dismally than the current White House Administration has failed in management of War Policies and Operations.The only band aid that can be now applied is NOT the tourniquet of budget cuts via the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, but the issuing of actual medical care at whatever levels are needed regardless of costs. If you do not make this happen right now, then I must hold you accountable for the next veteran deaths that occur from not receiving timely and appropriate care. It is also an inexcusable outrage to blame a veteran for misconduct simply because he could not find a way to articulate an actual need for help. The veterans that I know will not only hold you to these deaths but actually blame your willful neglect of facts that clearly indicate the proximity of cause. Your position on both the Defense and Veteran Senate Committees demands that you MUST step forward and actually attempt to not only LEAD your party but FORCE them to do the right thing for all veterans. Cutting the budget is clearly the worst possible solution - UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY WANT MORE VETERANS DEAD SO THAT YOU MAKE A SIMPLE ONE TIME PAY OFF THROUGH THE INSURANCE CLAIMS.If you find this insulting then there is actually some hope that you can find the political courage to do what so desperately needs to be done, RIGHT NOW!Veterans DESERVE to have your answer RIGHT NOW, Sir! And I, for one, demand it! Publish it on your website if that is the easiest form for you to communicate, but we will be watching your actions. Step up and lead your party, sir, and maybe it will survive the George Bush Presidency.Sincerely,

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