September 4, 2015
By Lorra B.
“We don’t need a department of Veteran Affairs,” according to Presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.
“The size of government has to be reduced significantly,” Carson told the Dave Ramsey Show. “There’s a lot of stuff that we’re doing that doesn’t make sense. We don’t need a Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans Affairs should be in under the Department of Defense, and it should be a smooth transition,” stated Carson.
It is the belief of Mr. Carson that the problems with the VA system are a huge deterrent for attracting new military recruits.
“We need to be looking at the way that we take care of soldiers,” Carson Stated. “You know 14 percent down recruitment for our voluntary Army right now. Why? Because they’re looking at what we’re doing to our veterans.”
What Carson is suggesting is a health savings account instead of the current system. A health savings account would allow veterans to obtain treatment at any medical facility instead of restricting them to government-run hospitals. The VA would then be turned into a specialty hospital to care for traumatic injuries such as loss of limb or severe brain injuries.
Not everyone is happy with Carson’s suggestions.
According to Military Times, it wasn’t long before some veterans were outraged by Carson’s remarks. The Veterans of Foreign War ripped apart Carson’s plans for veteran health care indicating they would be damaging and certainly not helpful.
Veterans of foreign Wars National Commander John Biedrzyck made a statement, “To suggest that disabled veterans could be sent out into the economy with a health savings account card overlooks the fact that civilian health care has waiting lists of their own…and presupposes that civilian doctors have the same skill sets as VA doctors, who see veterans of every age and malady every day. It provides an irreplaceable service to the nations wounded, ill and injured veterans and my organization will not let any candidate for any office suggest anything otherwise.”
Even Former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland threw his displeasure with Carson’s proposal into the ring and tweeted “Apparently @RealBenCarson didn’t talk to vets for his vets plan. We should fight for vets, not cut care.”
O’Malley further tweeted, “Unlike @RealBenCarson, I am working with vets across the country on a plan that is worthy of their service and sacrifice.” Now, to be fair to Carson, not all vets are in agreement that we need the VA system either and I have added a couple of those comments as well.
After the Twitter War, O’Malley publicized his plan to bring veterans to full employment. In his ‘National Service’ plan, he will also help find work for anyone who, for medical reasons, is unable to join the military.
Also not happy with Carson’s VA plan is retired Army major general Paul D. Eaton. “Rather than think of ways to nickel and dime our veterans, Dr. Carson should be thinking of other areas of fat in government — particularly in defense contracts — that can be cut, so we can hire more doctors and caregivers, to provide returning veterans with the kind of care they earned.”
There are problems in the VA system, there can be no doubt. The country has been distressed by the waiting lists and horrified by the number of veterans who have died waiting for their health needs to be met.
Yes, the VA is a mess and in need of serious repair. No matter which side of the fence you are on, wanting a ‘do-over’ for the VA or dismantling the VA, one thing is certain…Perhaps Ben Carson is doing the VA a good service by bringing it further into the light.
By Lorra B.