There’s been a lot of talk recently about healthcare for veterans, so I thought it would be helpful to know that it’s not just a single program administered by the Veteran’s Administration.
Veterans include all military service members who served and were not dishonorably discharged. Within that broad category there are also war veterans and combat veterans. As you can imagine, the healthcare needs for this large group of people are wide-ranging. Recently returning combat troops often have complex healthcare and recovery needs that require an intensive level of treatment, and one complaint is that the transition from the military’s medical system to the veteran’s system is too abrupt and can lead to worse outcomes. Veterans from older generations may have very different needs.
Many of us are surprised to learn that many veterans are enrolled in Medi-Cal and Medicaid programs. That’s because healthcare services provided by the Veteran’s Administration are provided on the basis of need as connected to military service; it’s not a full service kind of program. Tri-care is a private health care insurer that provides insurance services to the military active service members and their families, and there have been proposals to merge Tri-care and the VA healthcare system.
Stepping back from all the complexity, we can see that veterans are facing many of the same challenges that the rest of us are in finding quality health care and being able to pay for it, but they often have additional physical and behavioral health challenges arising from their military service. We need to fix healthcare access for all our residents, and we need to protect the special programs that help our veterans integrate back into civilian society and live long and healthy lives.
Here in California’s First Congressional District, we have more veterans as a proportion of our population than anywhere else in California. I’m committed to considering veterans issues in every aspect of policymaking in Congress, with healthcare being one of the most important.
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First published December 7, 2017.
This post is sponsored by Marty Walters for Congress, FEC ID C00639732
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