Veterans Affairs Still Under Heavy Scrutiny

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has been under heavy fire lately, and it does not appear to be going away any time soon. The issue revolves around health care, which is currently a major concern for many Americans. President Barack Obama, who has seen his own reputation falter as a result of the recent criticisms, is currently defending the Department of Veterans Affairs, though he is doing so with an air of caution.

This caution is likely due to the fact that Obama cannot completely clear the department of blame. The lapses in health care have sparked a great deal of controversy, and many feel that Obama’s administration did not respond to the issue as well as they could have. The ordeal was controversial enough that Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down from his position with Veterans Affairs earlier this year. Obama had to make mention of the fact that VA was not entirely in the right, and that their attempts to conceal some of their missteps from the public served only to exacerbate the issue. Even so, he wants Americans to feel as if the government is doing everything in their power to prevent such problems in the future.

According to Obama, one of the greatest things that the government needs to do right now is to establish a sense of renewed trust with the American public. He wants people to feel that Veterans Affairs is capable of servicing America’s war vets to the best of their capabilities, and one of the greatest ways to establish this sense of trust is to ensure that the department is held accountable for all actions in the future. Naturally, this begins with better access to health care, the Yahoo News reports.

A multi-billion dollar law has already been signed into action to help cut down on wait times for military health care. Whether or not such reports can be verified, the existence of reports that many have died before Veterans Affairs could offer them care has been a smear on the government’s record-keeping. Other unverified reports claim that some government employees may have even received bonuses in pay for covering up such records.

While many have been angered by the controversy surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs, Obama appears confident that many changes can be made. He hopes to not only lower the transition period between those in active service and those receiving veteran health care benefits, but also hopes to enact policies that may cut down on suicide rates and PTSD. If his changes prove fruitful, it may be possible for Veterans Affairs to clear its name in the future, though their name is still currently tarnished in the eyes of some vets and their families.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE