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NY Times Publishes Opinion Piece: “Donald Trump Is Getting It Right on Veterans Care”



Bet you thought you’d never see this!

An article in the NY Times with the caption “Donald Trump Is Getting It Right!”

Granted, it’s an opinion piece, but they actually choose to run it!

I do believe the tide may be turning.

Honest people look at what our great President is doing and they have to admit he’s doing an incredible job.

He’s working FOR THE PEOPLE!

Here's a portion of that article, from the NY Times:

Since President Trump took office, speculation has raged that he intends to privatize major portions of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sprawling health care system. Last week, the administration took its most definitive step in that direction by releasing rules allowing veterans who live more than a 30-minute drive from a V.A. health care facility to choose to receive private care instead.

Many Democrats and most veterans organizations have opposed such policies, arguing that diverting funds from V.A. hospitals and clinics will damage care for needy veterans. I am anything but a supporter of Mr. Trump, his horrendous treatment of women and his anti-government agenda. But as a former Marine Corps officer who has needed quality health care, I am thrilled by this move. 

I’m a survivor of a sexual assault that happened years before I joined the military. But that experience left less of a mark on me than the years of fierce misogyny and sexual harassment I experienced in the Marines. This has shaped much of my perspective as a V.A. patient, and unfortunately I am not alone.

In the last 15 years, I’ve received care from at least seven V.A. medical centers in the Northeast. I also spent several years as a national advocate for women veterans, and for women and men who experienced sexual assault or harassment in uniform. I’ve learned that far too many veterans who have experienced gender-based discrimination or sexual violence in the military also suffer immeasurably by being forced to use V.A. facilities.

On many occasions I have experienced inappropriate behavior by V.A. personnel because I am a woman. I still get mistaken for a wife or caretaker of a male veteran. I still have to remind medical staff to close curtains so I do not have to be subjected to the gaze of male patients — and so they don’t have to be subjected to mine. And just a few months ago, I reported sexual harassment by a male doctor who I felt was inappropriately personal with me in an initial clinical assessment. He then not only walked in on an acupuncture appointment while I was in my underwear but stayed and stared awhile until, aghast, I told him that he needed to leave.

For many veterans who have experienced sexual or gender-based trauma, a simple appointment at a V.A. hospital leads to intensive re-traumatization — for me, hypervigilance, panic attacks and emotional meltdowns are normal. Many of us bring “battle buddies” to our hospital visits so these symptoms won’t crush us. I now bring my certified service dog. 

As a woman veteran, I try to ignore the shameless stares. I look down, or away, so as to avoid unwanted conversations. I make myself as small and invisible as possible. I’ve gotten these skills down to a science. But it is still exhausting. And more to the point, veterans shouldn’t have to run a gauntlet of inappropriate behavior before seeing a nurse or a doctor.

We shouldn’t be surprised by these problems. V.A. staff — whether civilian or former military — largely take their cues from hypermasculine military culture. Critics of the administration often cite veterans’ comfort level with military culture as the main reason we should support the status quo. Even the current secretary of veterans affairs, Robert Wilkie, said that veterans “want to go places where people speak the language and understand the culture.” But for those of us for whom military culture itself is the source of trauma, the V.A. is the last place one can expect positive outcomes.

The veterans service organizations that are largely resisting privatizing the V.A. may also be out of touch with the needs of a younger and more diverse veterans population. Most patients are older men whose cultural norms regarding gender are becoming increasingly obsolete. #MeToo may have hit many institutions across the nation, but it seems to have barely made a dent at the V.A. and among many veterans groups.

For all these reasons, I’m supportive of sweeping changes to the V.A., even if they come from a questionable architect with less than honest motivations. It is not just humiliating but also traumatizing to walk by a framed photo of the president — a self-proclaimed pussy-grabber — on my way to V.A. appointments. But the fact is inescapable: Mr. Trump’s V.A. policies have already helped me and other veterans.

The Veterans Choice program, the V.A.’s most recent experiment with expanding private health care for veterans who face long wait lists or long travel times, was life-changing for me. Due to wait times of over six weeks at the V.A. hospitals and clinics nearest to me, I enjoyed two years of physical therapy appointments with excellent civilian health care providers. I wasn’t worried about my own physical or emotional safety. I could simply focus on my treatment.

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