Veteran's Issues are Our Issues:
As Bernie Sanders said, “If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war.” Unfortunately, when the wrong people hold office, they find funding for war, but not for veteran's healthcare. We have a responsibility to our veterans to take care of their health and ensure their success upon returning to the states.
While many veterans return home to lead normal, fulfilling lives, many others are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, homelessness, disability, health issues, unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to higher education.
Around 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans. Words cannot describe the shame that this brings upon us as a nation. I support housing programs for veterans, and will seek to fund veteran's healthcare and expand the number of VA hospitals. Even when we win single-payer, we will still need specialized care for veteran-specific issues. Under a new single-payer system, veterans could be treated by specialized doctors and nurses who are experienced in veteran-specific issues. Current VA management would be required to apply for jobs inside the new single-payer system, which would allow us to weed out the bad actors that have been involved in waste, fraud, and abuse.
We can no longer let our veterans fall between the cracks.
Oversight of the VA:
Current statute restricts the ability of registered nurses to speak out over matters concerning professional conduct or competence (including direct patient care and clinical competence), peer review, and compensation. This section denies RNs and select other clinical professionals from having equal collective bargaining rights as other workers in the VA and nurses in other agencies such as the Department of Defense. It is the duty of nurses, as the frontline workers in the health care system, to advocate for the highest quality patient care available for our service men and women, and veterans depend on the VA nurses to do that.
I will support, endorse, and cosponsor the VA Employee Fairness Act (S. 336/H.R. 980), introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Mark Takano. It is appalling that any group of workers in any trade would be barred from positively affecting safety and patient wellness.