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Getting VA Service Right For Veterans

Our Department of Veterans Affairs does not always do a good job of meeting its responsibilities to those who were willing to give everything for the rest of us. We’ve seen countless examples over the years of bureaucracy for bureacracy’s sake, yet somehow poor oversight and organization that has on more than one occasion turned deadly. Red tape can drown a military service veteran before he or she ever gets the healthcare they were promised.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., heard from Wheeling-area veterans with personal experience as to how difficult and time-consuming it can be to have a claim processed by the VA. According to Corrina Boggess, senior vice commander for the West Virginia VFW and a retired U.S. Army colonel, some veterans have had to wait as long as 10 years — a decade — for a claim to be approved.

That is unacceptable.

“They have to pay a lot of co-pays on their treatments and medications until they get that claim adjudicated,” she said. “That process can take years and years and years and you get no reimbursement and you are paying out-of-pocket for a condition that you contracted while in the service.”

Disgusting. These men and women were told their country would take care of them — and rightly so. Instead, we are making them wait and pay for the care they need.

Waiting years for a claim to be approved “is not right for people who have served this country and put their life in danger,” McKinley said.

Veterans Affairs officials and members of Congress should leave no option unconsidered in looking for the best way to get it right for our military veterans. In doing so, they will have to remember the object is for the VA to serve veterans, rather than itself.

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