Saturday, March 3, 2007

God save the Veterans

Anyone who hasn't had their head in the sand over the last week has heard about how veterans discharged from a major VA hospital have been forced to live in substandard housing, fill out mountains of paperwork to get follow up medical care that may never arrive. The situation is so bad that politicians and military officials are tripping over themselves to apologize to everyone and fire anyone involved. And while I have a great deal of respect for our veterans, I'm getting pretty annoyed with the implicit implication. Much of the US lives in substandard housing and many more individuals with mental and other health issues are forced to wade through a public health nightmare of limited resources, bureaucratic hoops, and substandard care. But we don't seem to care about these people, because they're NOT veterans (nor children, nor pregnant mothers). It would seem that this country values health care as a basic right (why else would ED's be required to evaluate and stabilize EVERYONE who walks in the door), but when it comes down to the details (those details numbering in the millions of uninsured) we just don't seem to give a damn. Gee, if only all the uninsured were veterans, then we would actually care about their health care.

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