The Trump administration is poised to impose a Republican dream and a serviceman’s nightmare by privatizing the Veterans Affairs department. This would cap how much healthcare veterans—who have put their lives and limbs at risk for us— can receive. Populist champion Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called the administration out on how evil this action is, condemning it is not only an insult to our veterans but an affront to everything America stands for.
Bernie Sanders’ powerful message is as follows:
Privatizing the VA would be an insult to the more than 22 million veterans who risked their lives to defend our country and it would significantly lower the quality of health care they receive. Our goal, shared by The American Legion and other major veterans’ organizations, must be to improve the VA, not destroy it. When men and women put their lives on the line to defend us, the president must listen to them, not to the Koch brothers and their extreme right-wing, anti-government ideology. We will vigorously oppose any and all efforts to privatize the VA.
The president-elect should listen to American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones, who recently said the nation’s largest veterans’ organization ‘would like the Trump administration to know that we value our Department of Veterans Affairs’ because ‘dollar-for-dollar, there is no better care or value available anywhere in the United States – period.’
The president-elect should listen to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. ‘Politicians, pundits and politically-motivated organizations are using the national crisis in access to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs as justification to dismantle and privatize the VA health care system, with some even proposing that veterans be charged for their service-connected care. The VFW says no! Veterans must not stand idle as politicians who never served or use the VA health care system dictate when and where veterans can receive care.’
The president-elect should listen to Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America who said, ‘The worst case scenario within the vets community is a total dismantling of everything they worked generations to create. There is a growing fear it is all going to get burned down.’
The veterans’ organizations are right. We must protect the VA, not destroy it.
Our veterans do not want their healthcare privatized, and for good reason. It would literally cap the care they are allotted, regardless of the amount of care they actually need. Instead of “fixing” veterans’ healthcare as he ambiguously promised on the campaign trail, Trump and his billionaire cronies would like to see the VA healthcare system eradicated through privatization and turned into a for-profit entity so that each individual is responsible for themselves, there is no wider, government accountability, and big healthcare corporations will be able to profit off the wounds and trauma endured by our servicemen and women in the service of our country.
The New York Times described Trump’s plan of privatization, and his clear disregard for what will actually happen to veterans who are left behind:
Mr. Trump met with several executives of private hospital systems at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Wednesday. After the meeting, Mr. Trump called out to reporters, saying he wanted to describe his ideas for changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but then quickly directed one of his senior aides to describe the proposals under consideration.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, provided no details about how the plans would work, how much they would cost, or the possibility of unintended consequences from privatizing part of the V.A.’s sprawling medical system.
As with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have no real plan with which to replace the VA. They would rather see our veterans suffer than to see another one of our tax dollars go towards healing them when that dollar could be better spent on a contract for the defense industry.
The only way to defeat this attack on our healthcare systems as we know it is by standing together. He doesn’t just want to eradicate VA healthcare, but is also targeting Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Ac. Trump cannot be allowed to get even richer as those who sacrifice their lives for our nation realize that the Republican political class and their oligarch masters have turned its back on them.
Christine is an avid supporter of progressive politics. She is currently getting her Masters degree after concentrating in Gender Studies as an undergrad.