Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson penned an op-ed for USA Today explaining the need for reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the crucial steps needed to properly take care of the nation’s veterans.
In the written piece, Carson discusses the need for “real improvements that are bold and long-lasting” to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has been plagued with criticism for mishandling hundreds of thousands of medical cases of veterans over the last several years. Carson also discusses this, referencing to the report that “300,000 U.S. veterans might have died while waiting for health care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Carson discusses his knowledge of working in VA clinics around the country while studying in college. “Both my internship and residency at Johns Hopkins involved actual patient care as well as supervising resident physicians attending at VA hospital facilities,” Carson wrote. “I sat at the bedside of many veterans and witnessed their selflessness, their sacrifice and their need for extraordinary care,” he added.
Carson called performances at the VA “marred by incompetence and corruption” and listed a set of proposals to increase the efficiency of the system and workforce. The first proposal suggests opening health savings accounts (HSAs) to “allow veterans the best possible medical care” at any VA clinic. The second proposal will provide veterans with needed funds to “follow the veteran” if they are not located near their home clinic. A third idea would “ensure timely response” for claims, one of the major criticisms of the current VA system. Specialized care is Carson’s fourth proposal, meaning VA facilities need to be equipped with tools for “treatment of military-specific post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, severance of limbs and other issues.” A fifth and final proposal would ensure a smooth transition among all departments in the VA when his earlier proposals are put in place.
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He ended his piece by demanding “results for our vets” and “no more politics as usual” under his potential presidential administration.
In August, Carson advocated for the removal of the Department of Veterans Affairs altogether.
“We don’t need a Department of Veterans Affairs,” Carson said on The Dave Ramsay Show. “Veterans Affairs should be folded in under the Department of Defense. And it should be a smooth transition.”