America’s support for our troops shouldn’t stop once active duty ends. After all of the sacrifices they have made, we owe our military veterans the best health services and resources available.
Taking care of our veterans has always been a priority of mine. When I began my career in public service as a state representative, my very first bill was a bipartisan proposal to give tax relief to business owners serving in the military. My commitment to those who have risked their lives to keep our country safe will not waver.
Unfortunately, backlogs in VA disability claims have kept too many veterans waiting for months and even years to gain access to health care or disability payments that they earned through their service to our country.
Tragically, some veterans have lost their lives while waiting to get the care they deserve.
Through my position on the Appropriations Committee, I have been working to fix the systemic problems that impact wait times, staffing shortages, and veterans falling through the cracks in the scheduling process. One report said that over 10% of Vancouver area veterans were waiting an average of 30 days just to get their first health care appointment. Since I began demanding specific accountability for these facilities, wait times have dropped – but the VA has more work to do.
When I discovered that a VA-owned “mobile medical unit” was sitting largely idle in a parking lot, I worked diligently over multiple years to bring this taxpayer-funded resource to serve veterans living in our rural communities. That mobile medical unit now makes quarterly, week-long visits to Pacific County to save veterans from 60-plus mile round trips to the nearest VA facility. They offer basic services like blood draws, prescription fills, and immunizations. One elderly veteran had a serious health issue detected during a routine exam, and it was treated before it cost him his life.
I won’t stop fighting in Congress to fulfill the promises made to our military heroes. Whether it’s consistently supporting cost of living increases in veteran benefits and disability, or helping pass a bill into law that allows veterans the choice of getting care outside of the VA system, my goal is to bring real improvements to the lives of those at home.
My staff is ready to assist Southwest Washington residents who are having issues with veterans’ benefits or the VA. If you need assistance, please contact us at (360) 695-6292.