Friday, April 11, 2008

Vets Without Care: Boyda Says System is Overloaded

A really heart-wrenching story ran in the Topeka Capitol-Journal about an Iraq War veteran who is simply not receiving the quality or level of care we should all expect our returning veterans to receive.

These stories aren't rare- quite the opposite of that, like Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's district representatives for military affairs said in the same article.

Two district representatives in U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda's Topeka office, Jefferson Lawson and Adam Stolte, said they hadn't heard about Sanders' case, but weren't surprised.

When Lawson was asked if the office received a lot of complaints from veterans about similar problems, he replied, "extremely."

He and Stolte can tell lots of horror stories, but they also try to put the complaints in perspective.

"People don't call us with good information," Stolte said.

So there is no way of knowing how many veterans receive good service, he said.

And, he said, almost every VA employee they deal with is well-intentioned. The problem is the system.

Lawson explained there are two divisions of the VA — The Veterans Health Administration that provides the health care and the Veterans' Benefit Administration that sends out the checks to qualifying veterans.

"I can tell you from experience those two agencies do not talk to each other," Lawson said.

This is a horrible situation for our very bravest Americans to be in, and Boyda has already tried to address the problem, though we would probably not be out of line to say everyone knows more needs to be done.

Boyda blamed the problem on an overburdened system. She said Congress increased funding for the VA by $6.6 billion last year and by another $4.9 billion this year. More is needed, she said.

"This is the real cost of war," she said. "It's easy to wear a yellow ribbon. Veterans need real help. And that takes money."

We'll hope we can convince Republican members to vote their own rhetoric and treat our men and women in uniform with the respect they deserve.

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This blog is not affiliated in any way with the Kansas Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, or the campaign to re-elected Congresswoman Nancy Boyda. All commentary herein not directly attributed must be considered the opinion of the authors of this blog and not of any other individual, including Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.