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Veterans to get some medical treatment at private hospitals

USA Today reports the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to let more veterans obtain health care at private hospitals. According to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who has faced calls for his resignation amid reports of preventable deaths and secret waiting lists, veterans will now be able to obtain some care from private hospitals. In the meantime, the Veterans Administration will continue to improve their own hospitals and make a concerted effort to eliminate their own backlog of patients who are seeking treatment.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="350"]English: Official image of Secretary of Vetera... English: Official image of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Republicans have asked President Obama to fire Shineski


VA Secretary Eric Shinseki made the announcement this Saturday in response to the public outcry against allegations that the department has purposely covered up a backlog of patients. President Obama admits frustration with the issues surrounding the VA but has stopped short of removing Shineski from his job. President Obama has said he will “respond aggressively to the controversy at the Veterans Affairs Department.”

At question is whether the Veterans’ Administration used secret waiting list to hide the backlog of veterans who were seeking treatment. The goal of the VA is to provide treatment within 14 days. According to reports, the waiting period was so long that many veterans may have died without receiving treatment.

President said he will take very aggressive action


Although certain members of Congress have stated they believe the president will take aggressive action to alleviate issues at the VA, many remain skeptical. Issues within the VA Administration have been known for many years, even preceding President Obama’s tenure, but little has been done to solve the problems.

According to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, however, “The president is gonna be on this.” He also announced Rob Nabors, McDonough’s deputy, will go to Phoenix this week and review the more than 40 possible deaths related to this scandal.

If the Democrats fail to convince the American people that enough is being done to solve issues with the VA, the issue could hurt some Democrats in the midterm elections. Already a number of Republicans have called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.

Some Democrats have also been hard on the VA. For instance, Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Tuesday there is evidence of “clearly outrageous, unacceptable activity which have harmed our veterans.” If there was a cover-up, Hoyer said, "anybody involved … should be either disciplined or removed.”

President should have known about Veterans Issues


Others within the government have questioned what President Obama knew and should have known about the situation. Although the administration has claimed much of what they know now they heard on the news, others argue if this is true they are either lying or they are incompetent.

Regardless of who knew what when, it’s time for this administration to take responsibility to ensure our veterans get proper medical care. Giving them the opportunity to seek treatment outside of the VA at private hospitals is a good first step. No soldier should survive on the battlefield only to come home and die waiting for medical care at a VA hospital.

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