Today, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) delivered the following remarks during the consideration of her legislation, the Faster Care For Veterans Act (H.R. 4352).
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
I rise today — more than two years after we were all SHOCKED by the news that Phoenix veterans had DIED waiting for appointments at their local VA.
Yet, after all this time, little has changed.
Every week veterans contact my office — seeking help to get the care they need:
Like the veteran who couldn’t access urgent care and was afraid he’d be billed if he went to a hospital for help.
Or like the veteran who got cancer from atomic testing, but has to jump through hoops to prove it.
Is this how a grateful nation should treat its heroes?
The best way to show our gratitude to those who have served is to get them the care they earned.
When a veteran contacts the VA, they should have the red carpet rolled out for them. Period.
But instead, these stories are repeated over…and over…and over… in communities across the country.
“The VA won’t listen.” “The VA doesn’t return calls.” “We can’t see a doctor.”
There is a disconnect – a disconnect between the service of our military and the service they receive when they return home.
Mr. Moulton of Massachusetts and I introduced the Faster Care for Veterans Act to leverage technology to cut back on wait times.
Our veterans should have the same options that people have in doctors’ offices across the country.
They should be able to use an app — or go online to schedule. Or if they want to make a call — they can do that, too.
The point is, the technology to make it easier to self-schedule already exists. Why not provide it to veterans?
With this bill, we’re demonstrating to the VA that innovative technology can work for them to: get our veterans the care they’ve earned more quickly – without all the red tape.
But wait times are just the tip of this bureaucratic iceberg.
The terrible stories this past week, of HIV exposure and a veteran dying with maggots in his wounds are GRAPHIC reminders to all of us that the VA has lost sight of its SOLE MISSION – serving veterans.
After all the years and all the money – no more excuses. It’s time for a deeper look into rethinking this outdated government bureaucracy.
Veterans should be in control of all aspects of their health care — that’s not happening right now.
Mr. Speaker, I never again want to hear a war veteran cry because of how the VA has treated him.
So I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting the Faster Care for Veterans Act.
Thank you and I yield back.