AFGE: Fully fund the government

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Politicians have learned from years of scheming and playing word games, how to capture our minds and invoke emotions, phrasing and wording legislation with the opposite intent or purpose. Examples are, “right-to-work,” “Veteran’s Choice” and “Accountability.” 

At first glance, these titles appear to stand for what is right, fair and equitable, giving the people what they want, but at closer examination, the reality is that the politicians have played on the words and the legislation does the exact opposite.

Study after study has shown the Veteran’s Health Administration has consistently outperformed private hospitals,” said Diane M. Clines, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 96. “VA employees are extremely proud of this accomplishment. However, time and time again, our politicians disregard the loyal, dedicated and committed employees that provide daily such phenomenal service. Instead, the politicians focus only on the negative to push their own agenda.”

Research shows that most veterans want to receive their health care at the VA where they receive holistic medical care one-stop shop, Clines said. “However, this doesn’t stop politicians from trying to privatize the VA.” 

Also, studies show that the Choice Act has not accomplished its original mission, she said:

• Veterans are not always seen before 30 days in the community, after they could have been seen sooner at the VA.

• Veterans paper work often is not properly processed prior to their arrival at designated sites, causing delay in care.

• Many veterans who have gone to private hospitals have been charged enormous bills since the private hospital bills the veterans directly. At times, the treatment provided was outside the scope of care that was authorized, thus the veteran again is left financially accountable.

“There are currently 49,000 vacancies at the VA impacting the ability of the dedicated employees to meet its mission of providing timely quality care,” Clines said. “Politicians should be focusing on filling these vacancies so that the veterans can receive the care they were promised and at VA facilities where they want to receive it, instead of the alternative accountability and whistle blowing act.

Clines said those concerned with veterans’ issues should watch the following bills in the coming months:

The Veteran Choice Act of 2017.

• The Veterans Emergency Room Relief Act (S1261).

• Enhance Veteran Care Act (S1266).

• The Veterans Herald Administration Reform act of 2017 (S1279).

• The Better Work force for Veteran Act of 2017 (S1325).

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