Advocates Warn Against Pence and Trump-Led Attacks on VA Health Care

On the federal observance of Veterans Day, we take a closer look at the issue of veterans’ healthcare. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence wrote an article for Fox News touting Trump’s record on veterans’ health and the passage of a policy known as “Veterans Choice,” which is seen by veterans’ advocates as an attempt to drain the Veterans Health Administration of needed resources and eventually force privatization of the system. We’re joined by award-winning journalist and author Suzanne Gordon. Her new book is Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans. She recently wrote an article for The New York Times titled “By Protecting Veterans’ Health, You May Protect Your Own.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn to this federal observance of Veterans Day, to the issue of veterans’ healthcare. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence wrote an article for Fox News titled “Veterans have no better friend than President Trump.” Pence touted Trump’s record on veterans’ health, writing, “President Trump has signed the most substantial veterans’ health-care reform in a generation, making Veterans Choice a permanent part of American law. Today our veterans have access to the real-time, world-class care they have earned, whether at a private health-care provider or the Department of Veterans Affairs. This law will also improve the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality health-care professionals, give veterans access to walk-in care, and expand health-care choices, including options for telehealth and mental health services,” the vice president wrote. Critics of the law say it’s an attempt to drain the Veterans Health Administration of needed resources, eventually forcing the privatization of the system.

Meanwhile, the issue of veterans’ mental health was raised again last week after a former…

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