Murray Says Expand VA Accessibility

Mar 09 2007

Senator advises Administration and Congress to support and expand VA services, not pursue Craig proposal

"Senator Craig and I agree that the VA healthcare system is among the best in the world. The staff is compassionate and professional. The doctors and nurses are specially trained to deal with the very unique injuries of war.

"But today, nearly five years into this war, our veterans are facing lengthy waits just to get in the door to see a primary care physician. They are having trouble accessing critical mental health services, and some are waiting up to two years for benefits claims to be processed.

"These are real problems facing real people and they deserve real solutions.

"The Bush Administration did a miserable job planning for the aftermath of the war, but our veterans shouldn't have to suffer for it.

"Our VA system is uniquely positioned to recognize and treat the specialized injuries, medical conditions and mental health challenges caused by combat and military missions. Private medicine doesn't always have the knowledge base or resources to deal with these unique problems.

"Rather than kicking our veterans into yet another maze of processing and paperwork, we should work to provide better access to one of the best health care systems in the country.

"We need a seamless transition that allows our veterans to get the care they need without endless waits and red tape. Pushing veterans out of the VA healthcare system won't solve the problem. Instead we should be providing the resources necessary to increase access to this high quality health care system."