Saturday, May 27, 2006
Today, in the sweltering heat and humidity of south Texas, veterans and those who support them, gathered outside the Kerrville VA. The subject of conversation? Simple. Budget cuts in the VA and how they affect yesterday's and today's veterans. Contrary to popular belief, Memorial weekend is when we remember those who served our country in the armed forces. This event was not covered by very many news media. Our elected representatives, who purport to support our troops, such as Henry Bonilla, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry were invited to attend. Who attended? Rick Bolanos, who is running against Henry Bonilla, and a pretty young lady who identified herself as Bonilla's "communications representative." No elected official bothered to show up.
What was discussed? Restoring funding to the Kerrville VA. The men and women who get medical care from the VA must go to San Antonio for many areas of care such as dermatology, gerontology, pulmonology and oncology (cancer) because that is not available in Kerrville. A bus goes to Kerrville twice a week. Often their appointments are canceled, but the veteran won't know until he arrives in San Antonio. So, he/she must wait all day for the bus to return to Kerrville. Is this right? I don't believe it is.
Furthermore, as we daily add veterans to the system, in the Iraq war, which was started on lies, these men and women will add to the VA backlog and get crappy care. One VA nurse per 23 patients, for inpatient care. How is that quality of care? When will we, as a nation, value and honor our veterans?