The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released the numbers for its Choice Card program, and they aren’t good --- only 27,000 veterans have enrolled in the plan since it launched in November. Choice cards were introduced to curb an endemic issue in the VA: veterans being forced to wait months for treatment from VA hospitals, or having to travel significant distances to get to the nearest VA center. The Choice Card program allows veterans who have waited more than 30 days or live more than 40 miles from a VA center to seek private care, with the VA footing the bill.
However, the program seems to have caused more issues for veterans, exacerbating the very problem it was meant to remedy --- wait times and accessible care.
Due to the language of the program, many veterans trying to use the card have been denied treatment, specifically those who live less than 40 miles away from a VA center “as the crow flies,” rather than according to actual driving distance. Additionally, the VA distributed choice cards to all veterans, whether they are eligible or not, making it unclear when they can actually be used.
The small number of eligible veterans who signed up for the program has brought new controversy to both the VA and the president’s 2016 budget, which requests authority to redistribute funds from the $10 billion dollars Congress originally set aside for the Veterans Choice Fund --- with the claim that the money will be best spent elsewhere. It is unclear why veterans aren’t enrolling in the program, though some, like Frederick H. Nordhorn, a commissioner of the Prince George’s County Commission For Veterans, believe it’s due to a loss of trust between the VA and the veteran community.
“These are deep problem of dysfunction that need fixing that have been going on for decades. No wonder veterans aren’t sure if they should use or trust the choice card,” Nordhorn told the Washington Post. “They feel discouraged at every turn.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.