The 2016 presidential election was filled with countless controversies and disagreements, but Donald Trump is now officially our President-Elect, which means it is time to take a look at his intentions for America’s veterans. Trump has been discussing veteran reform since he hit the campaign trail, but now it just about time for him to make his promises become reality.
What is Trump Promising?
Put simply, Trump stated, “It will be fixed and that begins with a simple promise. Every veteran will get timely access to top quality medical care.” This is a huge promise, one that the VA community can only hope comes true. Some veterans have been struggling to obtain timely medical care and financial benefits for years, many of whom have dealt with major health complications without the support they were promised when they served. Trump continued his promise, “We also must do more to help our veterans find jobs. We must increase the number of mental health care professionals inside the VA.”
According to the 10-step plan on his website, President-Elect Trump has a handful of very specific goals with the VA. First, he aims to appoint a VA Secretary with the singular goal of serving veterans’ needs, not the needs of D.C bureaucrats. Second, Trump wants to remove and discipline federal employees and managers who have failed to properly serve veterans. Going along with this, he wants to commission created specifically to investigate any fraud within the VA.
Trump’s other VA plants include reforming the visa system to ensure veterans are at the front of the line for health services, helping every veteran have the choice to seek care at the VA or private service provider of their choice, and making mental health care services widely available. In sum, “Under a Trump Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service.”
How Do Experts Feel?
As was reflected in the results of the election, opinions are split down the middle. Some veterans feel that the VA is reliable and efficient, and they worry about the changes that Trump will make. In the words of Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, “The worst case scenario within the vets community is a total dismantling of everything they worked generations to create. Privatization is an experiment. Is that an experiment we want to take in the middle of a war with demand about to skyrocket?”