We Oppose VA Healthcare Privatization

Leslie "Buzz" Davis
Leslie "Buzz" Davis 2 Comments
723 Signatures Goal: 1,000

Petition to the President of the United States, leaders of Congress and members of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees

1. We, the below signed individuals, stand opposed to the privatization of VA healthcare.

2. We support spending the additional billions of dollars to hire additional medical staff and build additional facilities necessary to care for our veterans.

3. We support protecting the whistleblowers in government - not firing them.

4. We support the unions VA staffers have created - not busting the unions and destroying due process protections.

5. We stand opposed to wasting billions of tax dollars on private care that costs 20% to 30% more than the high quality care veterans already receive at the VA.

6. We endorse the below letter of Congressional Progressive Caucus members to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and we thank them for supporting veterans.

Veterans have paid the price, deserve high quality healthcare and we demand you see that they receive it!

Thank you!

This petition is co-sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin (AFT-WI), the WI South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) and originated by Buzz Davis, WI member of Veterans for Peace.

August 29, 2016 The Honorable Robert McDonald, Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,

Dear Secretary McDonald,

We are writing to urge you to express strong opposition to recommendations by the Commission on Care that will weaken the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system and significantly increase the share of veterans’ care provided outside of the VA. Proposals to shift funds to private contractors and for-profit care will take desperately needed resources away from our veterans, and should be rejected.

A number of the proposed changes to the VA’s integrated, veteran-centric, cost effective health care system will have adverse consequences on quality of care for our veterans. Reforms to the VA must not decrease the VA’s accountability to Congress and veterans, nor deny veterans’ access to their top choice care provided by VA’s own expert, dedicated clinicians.

Shifting resources to pay for the privatization of care will have impacts throughout the spectrum of care for our veterans. In addition to reducing quality and access to care, it could deprive the VA of cutting edge medical research and IT innovation, top-notch clinician training, and stifle the VA’s critical role in responding to national emergencies and natural disasters.

Recent surveys indicate that veterans want the VA to have more doctors and nurses to care for them at the VA. Veterans understand their community of care is their local VA medical center that coordinates with the rest of the VA to ensure they have the benefits, job support, education and other wrap-around services that will restore their health. While private sector providers may have good intentions, they are not prepared to coordinate care addressing the unique needs of our veterans, including continuity of resources to ensure veterans have access to quality of life services, such as education on disability claims, rehabilitation, home, automobile or parenting support.

We ask that you oppose proposals that claim to fix the VA by making it easier to fire VA employees. Every day, courageous VA employees on the front lines of health care and other programs speak up about problems that need to be addressed and new ideas that can provide veterans with the exemplary care they earned with their service to our nation.

Civil service jobs have been an essential path to economic security for African-Americans, women, and disabled veterans, who comprise the vast majority of the VA workforce. Proposals to remove the VA from the merit system and deny due process prior to termination threaten the principles of civil service as well as the civil rights of VA employees, which are already being threatened with similar due process attacks.

The VA remains a crucial part of our nation’s health care system. In fact, a recent assessment by the RAND Corporation confirms that the VA outperforms the private sector on most quality of care measures. RAND also found that the VA, which has a patient population with more complex needs and less insurance coverage than other individuals, has improved timeliness and access to care.

Shifting veterans to the private sector is not the solution for improving their care. As we’ve seen through the Choice program, veterans are still experiencing delays, fragmented care, and widespread frustrations with the Choice bureaucracy. The cumbersome Choice process is taking VA staff time away from direct care in order to help veterans navigate the Choice program, prepare consults, and scan medical records without additional staff. There are many questions around the quality of care being received through the Choice program and the ability of the private sector to absorb additional veterans, especially those with complex military-related health conditions.

Instead of stripping additional resources from veterans’ health care, our priority should be making sure the VA has the staff and resources it needs. Downsizing or dismantling the VA in favor of sending veterans with complex health conditions to navigate the private sector is bad policy. We urge you to keep the promise we made to our veterans by ensuring they can access their first choice for care. We also ask that you defend the rights and workplace protections of the 114,000 veterans who work at the VA and their coworkers who serve veterans every day.

Sincerely, Raúl M. Grijalva, Co-Chair, and Keith Ellison, Co-Chair Congressional Progressive Caucus, Mark Takano, Acting Ranking Member, Veterans Affairs Committee

4

Highlights

February 4
Petition has reached 500 signatures!
September 24
Petition has reached 250 signatures!
September 8
Petition has reached 100 signatures!
September 5
We are now live!
  • willard cottrell
    willard cottrell United States, Burnsville
    Feb 11, 2017
    Feb 11, 2017
    I am a Vietnam vet. I have just signed up for the VA because of an expensive med I need, I was turned down for the med. They expect me to NOT use the medicine that is working. I am to go back to something I was on that became ineffective. The Dr also said that the oral meds tend to become less effective over time. This is what to expect once the insurance industry sinks its teeth into us. For sure, those of us with a pre-existing condition will be stuck. With the US sending us to war on a continual basis, there are going to be many with pre-existing conditions
  • William Comiskey
    William Comiskey United States, Minneapolis
    Feb 02, 2017
    Feb 02, 2017
    The wealthy of this nation over the last several decades have accumulated vast amounts of money. They now seek opportunities to invest this money whereby they can profit and increase this wealth. Their mantra is to privatize everything. The VA Medical system should not be a vehicle for the enrichment of Wall Street capitalists. If the VA medical system is farmed out to the medical industry the cost to the American taxpayer will greatly increase and the quality of care will deteriorate — It has to! The inherent nature of capitalism is to charge as much as possible while providing as little as possible to maximize profit.
723

Signatures

  • 18 hours ago
    luis r mendez Puerto Rico
    18 hours ago
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    Jake Jones United States
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    Cindy Hawes Mexico
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    Lisa E Davis United States
    4 weeks ago
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    Larry Reiter United States
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