OUR VIEW: U.S. owes its vets a little more
The Obama administration — along with Congress — should move quickly to review and, if need be, fix any major problems that may plague the Veterans Administration.
News that veterans must endure long waits for appointments at VA centers and assertions that a series of deaths may be connected to delays at the Phoenix, Ariz., VA hospital produced a recent outcry from lawmakers and concerned individuals.
In Phoenix, a former official with the VA hospital asserts that more than 35 vets died while they waited for treatment. Added to that was the news that the hospital staff held a secret appointment list designed to mask the delays.
Most recently, a VA hospital in the Chicago area was under federal scrutiny regarding another covert list regarding delays. Other problems in other states regarding the VA have also been reported.
By all accounts the top brass of the VA is seeking answers and searching for solutions. That is good news. Yet these assertions regarding care for the nation’s veterans are more than just another troubling sound-bite. And they cannot be ignored.
The nation — whether it wants to admit it or not — owes a solemn debt to every veteran. Part of the sacred covenant between the nation and its veterans is the assurance — the obligation — that they will be cared for. Cared for not as a burden but as part of the execution of a pact.
Congress and the Obama administration must move swiftly to right any wrongs with the VA medical system. It is a question not so much about justice as about fulfilling a solemn pledge.
We owe our veterans more than sub-standard medical care.