Rockefeller says providing healthcare to veterans is a 'moral ob - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Rockefeller says providing healthcare to veterans is a 'moral obligation'

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U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said during the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on the state of VA healthcare he would let the record speak for itself.

As the longest serving member of the committee, Rockefeller said everyone has worked tirelessly on helping improve the system but he was “deeply troubled by the increasing reports of employee misconduct in VA facilities around the country.”

In his statement, Rockefeller said:

“Stories like these, with the worst allegations coming from the VA facilities in Phoenix, are incredibly worrisome. They call into question our country’s ability to address the needs of our veterans, and they damage the reputation of a system that has made great strides over the past few years.

If these reports are true, then appropriate action must be taken. Our veterans and their loved ones deserve nothing less.

Amidst stories of alleged secret waiting lists and falsified records, however, I do believe that it is important for everyone to remember one key fact: the VA treats millions of veterans every year, and it treats them exceptionally well. I know that the men and women employed by the VA – from the doctors to the nursing staff to the people who work in admission – are working day and night to improve the health of our veterans and honor their service. It is important not to forget this.

Currently, the VA faces major challenges. More people are enrolling in the VA than ever, and many of them have complex injuries. If the VA does not have enough doctors to see these patients, then these problems are a result of a lack of funding. And that is something that we in Congress can blame no one for but ourselves.”

Although he applauded the administration for its continued commitment and efforts to funding of veterans, the request for a three percent increase “reflects the largest increase for any agency in the President’s budget request. But if we’re being honest about the needs of the VA, a three percent budget increase is not enough.”

Rockefeller said the committee had a moral obligation to take care of the veterans.

“However, this Congress has been falling short of its obligations to care for our veterans when they return. And recently, it seems that it’s only during crisis situations that we are forced to look at how we are prioritizing the care and long-term health of those who have fought for our country.

That is not to say that swift action must not be taken if the Inspector General determines there has been misconduct at the VA. But for as long as we continue to underfund the VA, I firmly believe problems will continue to arise.”

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