Larry Craig has always portrayed himself as a strong advocate for veterans. As senior Republican and former Chair of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, he failed to provide the oversight that might have brought to light the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. It appears that he is getting a little nervous. Here is what he says in his latest newsletter,
As debate swirls around Washington regarding the care provided to injured soldiers and veterans, I find myself right in the middle of the debate as the senior Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
What is Craig’s solution to health care for Veterans? The same phony solution Republicans have for education, choice.
The VA provides some of the best health care in America. And the overwhelming majority of veterans are pleased with their care. That being said, I realize some are not satisfied for various reasons. So, I am proposing that we empower veterans with service-connected disabilities by allowing them to choose their healthcare provider-either the VA or another local doctor. Empowering veterans to vote with their feet
Craig isn’t fooling the Vets, however. Here is what Larry Scott at VA Watchdog.com says,
I can think of only one explanation for this: Craig is off his meds.
Actually, there’s a much simpler reason: This is just the next step in dismantling the VA healthcare system.
Veteran’s advocate, Jim Strickland, pulls no punches in his response to Craig’s “choice” plan.
I choose VHA for a number of reasons.First, I am a career health care professional and an expert consultant in health care. I have been in health care since the 1960s. I know where I get the best health care and I choose the VHA.
Second, I like being in a quasi-military setting. Our icons are important to me. I like the flags on the walls, the pictures of our heroic brothers and sisters, the memorabilia of our sacrifices and the brotherhood of my fellow Veterans.I like the men in their caps with the embroidered history of the war they fought in, the ship they served on or that Marine Division they were wounded in. Many of us dress a little differently when we prepare to go to our VA health care facility because we know it’s one way we communicate with each other. Sort of a semaphore of signals with our pins, buttons, colors and badges. I like the camaraderie of warriors, young and old.
Finally…I by God earned it. I gave a large part of my life, not so much in years spent but in terms of what I gave of my heart and soul, to become a Veteran. I am a special, unique American and I do not want to be parceled off like a Medicaid patient to some drab facility where I’m just another old guy being treated like everyone else.
Senator Larry Craig now proposes to destroy this wonderful system, often lauded as the best of the best, by giving us “choice”. The Senator won’t comprehend any of what I said above.
For all his experience as the National Vice-President of the Future Farmers of America and even though he may have been a wonderful Student Body President at the University of Idaho and although he was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity…this Senator is not a Veteran. Throughout all his long list of credentials, you won’t find anything at all about “military” or “Veteran” in there.
He has not served a day in boot camp, he never donned the uniform of our military. He wasn’t ever required to stand an inspection. He never had to face the First Sergeant when he came in drunk and pissed off. Senator Craig didn’t have to ever wonder if his weapon would work because it came from the low bidder. He never had to sit holding on to a bleeding brother, a wounded warrior in the field waiting waiting waiting for that damn chopper to arrive. His ass wasn’t going to be shot off, not as a professional politician.
Senator Craig is now and has always been a professional politician. He will never be a member of our elite club…membership is closed to him. Maybe why that’s why he wants to rip apart our system. He can’t be one of us so he’ll just take it all apart.
Tearing down the VHA is the worst idea that I’ve heard of this year. I know, the year is young so there’ll be plenty of opportunity for our “leaders” to make complete fools of themselves with nonsense like this.
You have to wonder why veterans would ever vote for Larry Craig. During the last two sessions of Congress, Craig voted for legislation in support of Veterans only 32% of the time. In fact, the difference between Republican and Democratic support for Veterans is pretty revealing. See here for the details