Monday, May 30, 2016

An Idea For Veterans

My roommate is a veteran.  He served six years in the Navy during the early 1990's and received an honorable discharge.  For over 20 years, he didn't need the services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but when he did need the VA, they were there for him.  Only problem is, he has to travel to a run down part of Indianapolis every time he has an appointment or needs emergency medical care.

This is the case for many veterans.  They have to travel to hearts of cities around the nation to receive the services provided by the VA, unless they live more than 40 miles driving distance from the nearest VA hospital.  If they do live more than 40 miles away, veterans are able to avail themselves of their local doctors.  Since my roommate and I do not live over 40 miles away, he has to make the trek.

Of course, the VA doesn't offer just medical care to our veterans.  It also provides job hunting services, mental health counseling and many other services.  These services, no matter the distance, are only provided at the central VA centers.  Sadly, the VA does not provide for vision or dental.

My roommate would like to be able to see a doctor and/or psychiatrist that is closer to home, but due to the travel restriction (and not having any other health insurance), he can't.  He must travel to the VA hospital for those services.  This is not to say that my roommate is unhappy about the services he has received from the VA.  Quite the contrary.  He is very happy, but would like to not have to travel 45 minutes one way to get them.

In our discussions, we have come to agree that the VA needs the ability to offer all veterans the ability to see the doctor of their choice closer to home.  We both feel the need for a VA specific Medicare/Medicaid type program where all he needs to do is to provide a VA issued insurance card to a doctor and he gets the care he needs.

This would allow millions of veterans to see doctors in a timely manner while also I think saving time and money.  The VA hospitals will still be available but supplemented by tens of thousands of health care professionals around the nation.

Let me know in the comments below if you think this is a good idea and whether or not you are willing to contact your Senators and Representative to get this legislation moving.

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