Full Service: NH Veterans Are Denied

Union Leader

June 26, 2008 – Sen. John Sununu and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter have done extensive work to try to convince the Veterans Administration to finally give New Hampshire’s veterans a full-service VA hospital. On Tuesday, our veterans were told they would not get one. Day-long trips to Boston for medical care will continue.

It’s just not efficient for the federal government to put a full-service VA hospital in New Hampshire, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake said on Tuesday.

Not efficient? Tell that to the veteran who has to take a whole day drive to Boston or Maine for treatment.

Not providing New Hampshire’s veterans with a full-service VA hospital would be OK if the VA empowered veterans to get their own care locally. But Peake refuses even that.

Asked if he would support providing veterans with medical debit cards so they could get care from their own doctors or local specialists, Peake said, “Those cards are called ‘Yellow-Page’ medicine, and it has the potential to be dangerous. An individual is not the best consumer.”

Letting veterans pick their own doctors is “dangerous” because they are too uninformed to make good choices? That’s outrageous!

Peake is saying to New Hampshire’s veterans: You will get the care we decide, when and where we decide, because you cannot be trusted to make any medical decisions for yourselves. That’s a horrible insult to our veterans.

The VA refuses to provide New Hampshire’s veterans with the services they need and deserve. And it justifies this refusal by insulting their intelligence. Dr. Peake, a platoon leader in Vietnam, ought to have a higher opinion of his fellow veterans. They deserve better than this condescending dismissal from the man in charge of their care.

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