veterans choice expansion

Trump Expands Veterans Choice: Nearly 400% More Veterans Can Use

Today, the crow no longer flies as far under the new MISSION Act community care rules cutting the wait time to 20 days or more than 30 minutes from a primary VA facility.

The new rules also provide for expanded use of non-VA urgent care. Veterans will not be required to receive advance approval when needing urgent care.

I REPEAT. Veterans can use non-VA urgent care in their community so long as they are registered within the VA healthcare system.

Following through with his campaign promise for expanded healthcare choice, the Trump Administration just rolled out its MISSION Act expansion of Veterans Choice.

Officials estimate the new rules will expand private care to 2.1 million veterans from 560,000, which is almost four times more veterans.

Veterans Choice ≠ Significant Increase In Use

VA press secretary Curt Cashour says the agency “does not expect a significant increase” in use of the program despite the legal change.

“Eligibility for community care is not the same as actually opting for community care,” Cashour said. “Veterans like the care VA offers, and eligible veterans will always have the choice to receive internal VA care or to receive community care.”

Anti-Choice For Veterans

Anti-Choice advocates oppose the expansion and use of community care options, entirely. The argument goes, basically, that use of community care will destroy VA by outstripping resources. And, that the current expansion furthers the goal to destroy the agency.

It seems a little Chicken Little to me, too.

Personally, I think offering veterans a choice in healthcare providers will encourage the agency to work harder to keep the patients it has. Without competition, we risk ending up in another waitlist fiasco just like in 2014.

The pushback on expansion tends to fall down party lines.

Some Democrats oppose choice citing the risk of erosion of resources for veterans remaining in the system.

Some Republicans advocate for abolishing VA healthcare altogether to instead use a voucher system similar to Medicare.

I tend to fall in the middle on this one.

There is no question VA healthcare provides a vital resource for veterans. We have unique problems civilian healthcare systems never address – – mainly – – exposure to heavy metals, dioxins, rare pathogens, and combat.

VA is uniquely positioned to care for these ailments, usually, but some facilities really fall short in the services they provide.

Then there are the usual suspects. Preventative care is hit or miss depending on the facility. Sometimes, you can get access to urgent care quickly. Sometimes you cannot.

I think there is a middle ground that should be struck. But enough about what I think. How do you feel about the expansion?

I like the non-VA urgent care option a great deal.

My interview on NPR might play today on Marketplace, so be sure to check it out on your local radio in the morning.

Similar Posts


  1. The only reason you have to stay inside their “network” of approved community care is so they still have access to your medical records, which they sell to med schools and medical research agencies to “study” you and your illnesses and treatments, to see if they are working or not. The VA still has their hand in the your cookie jar, but they want the whole jar.

    1. Yep, SGH, you are correct. I may totally remove them all the way around. Money and all if success maintains. Soon.

      1. I mean call up and stop payment. Actually, I believe they would love it. Dollar Bill is the VA care. Getting them gone would finish my healing for own care. Employment can deliver this if success prevails. 99.99 consider myself hired soon. They can have it is the position that I would like to be in.


  3. I was on so many meds while at the VA I could not function. I an now losing my hearing on how side and having massive headaches which are only being addressed when I go outside to the VA. I am so grateful to God to have other insurance that I no longer have to depend on the VA anymore. I now get my meds outside the system and update them on what I am taking.

  4. I’ll believe it when I see it. I am still waiting for the VA to pay the 65K for my knee replacement that they authorized the doctor to do under the choice program. And I have to have the right knee replaced as we have discovered a “growth” on the kneecap. Wonder if they are going to pay for that surgery as well…probably not

  5. Benjamin, just a money laundering system. I will believe the change when I see it. Goodbye. I still believe the VA as in VHA needs to be shutdown. I stand by my statement.

  6. It is about time honestly. I’ve seen two different providers at my local Veterans Clinic on Fort Knox both of whom have repeatedly flat out refused to treat my known documented medical conditions. I am 100 percent totally and permanently disabled and all the VA wants to do is schedule me for 6 month check ups and send me on my way.

  7. From Discover on Google:


    Good article to read!

    1. P.S.
      This goes with the “usatoday” article:

      “VA may owe veterans millions in refunds but knowingly hasn’t paid them for years, probe finds”

      The Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
      The Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  8. Ok, so they are going to make it easy for us Vets to get care where and when we want it but . . . . and a BIG BUT . . . what are they going to do with the ‘killers’ that have killed our decent healthcare? Incarcerate them?

    My provider is wasting money on blood tests that have to be sent out to a civilian facility and the tests are invalid because I do not qualify for such tests due to medications I’m on that interfere with the result and I cannot stop taking those medications for if I do – I will die. I attempted to bring it to their attention and they came across like, “so what”. He has requested it several times and uses it to diagnose a medical problem even though the results for me are invalid. I think to the tune of $5,000 total. THAT is considered ‘waste and abuse’.

    The abusive part to the patient is the fact that he is using the results to deny me medication or severely cut back on expensive critical medications to be some kind of hero to the director. The more money they save gives them the BIGGER bonuses on October 1st. Money that should be going to buying better providers and more care for the patients. Last year, October 1st 2018, it is estimated that they divvied up more than $300,000,000 amongst the elite members of the ‘sicko club’.

    Also, I will wait and see how long they drag their beloved (and wealthy) feet on this one . . . . as they have every time in the past. They wait so more Veterans will die waiting. I repeat . . . ‘sicko club’.

    1. Google this article:


      It isn’t just the VA. It’s just about every damn government agency out there.

      Taxpayers should be livid over this! Plus, you won’t find this on ANY of the MSM’s! That’s “Operation Mockingbird” for ya!

  9. 06/06/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    This is Good News; however there is bad news, a new scandal has broken at the VA [Wait Times II–ushered in by the Washington Post on June 3rd 2019].

    The exposed wait times are grossly understand by nearly 300% according to Mr. Whiteman, VA’s national director of clinic practice management.

    This makes U.S. Senator McSally and U.S. Senator Sinema look like Girl Scouts.

    If this is True the Americans have been railroaded for Five Years and wasted Billions on Fools.

    Please stay on top of this issue and this is probably the reason for President Trump’s swift action.


    Don Karg

    1. Don,
      It IS true. A “National Director” brought the allegations to his “chain of command”! Then was ostracized by them.
      When I read the Washington Post article, the first thing I thought of was: IF he was a “National Director”, who was in his immediate “chain of command”?
      Cashour claims the whistleblower’s allegations are false. Yet Cashour has to testify, in Congress, as to WHY he has two sets of books on appointments!

  10. After reading the new community act, it is at best ambiguous. It appears to be more of a disclaimer than a true attempt to provide actual medical care to veterans.
    Obviously this is an attempt by the v.a. to save their own asses, which is for all intents and purposes is all the v.a. has ever done in the 15 years I have been trying to get treatment at 7 different v.s. hospitals.
    It should be noted: the v.a. plan or plans is not the reason (s) got lack of teatment, death lists, corruption, theft and apathy. It is the management of the v.a.
    The v.a. will continue to explode until it no longer exists.

  11. All the criteria of choice 40 is retained in the mission act which disqualifies most, if not all, veterans in my neck of the woods. Nothing will really change. Choice not being used because veterans prefer VA health care? What a crock… More glossing, white washing, obfuscation, platitudes and outright lies…

  12. In concept this is a great step in the right direction but call me cynical, but what about that little nitty-gritty detail of the VA paying the bill?
    Will again, Veterans be forced to acknowledge that WE will become responsible once the greedy fucks at the VHA decide performance bonuses or new army of interior decorators trumps paying those providers, leaving our credit in shambles and providers no longer accept Veterans under presumption VA would pay their bills?

  13. This vet must have had enough of the bullshit VA was handed him. Can anyone think of another reason WHY he would have tried blowing that place up?


    1. Here’s another fubar VA is embroiled in;


  14. And yet, despite combat “residuals” being one of the areas where the VA should excel…

    The VA systematically refuses to provide Pain Management.

    At the Olin E. Teague VA Outpatient Clinic in Austin, Pina Management is officially described as follows:

    “You just have to manage being in pain”.

    So I have to use a civilian Pain Management Dr. for actual medical Pain Management. Because he uses opioids—as well as accupuncture, diet, physical therapy, nerve blocks and stimulators, and “mindfulness”—the VA refuses to even consider a Choice/Mission Act application.

    So eligibility also doesn’t equal access.

    One of the major disadvantages of the whole “Choice” con is that it allows the VA to simply dodge responsibility for providing expensive care (not Pain Management, it’s’s inexpensive) while still refusing to allow access via “Choice”.

    Choice isn’t private insurance; the VA still has the throttles.

    And Krause has to know his “competition” theory is pure nonsense.

    1. See your point Steven. As long as government is involved, I predict all bets will be off. I could be wrong; but, I doubt that I am. Competition can really only happen in the private sector free market system. Adding a free market touch to a government system will be hard to do because it is locked into the sustainabilty and the sabotage modality. It is not about profits and revenues. It is about taxpayer dollars. Competition happens when profits are either being generated or loss. Revenues too.

      1. Lies repeated around Europe. We do not have concentration camps in this country. Jeff Zucker of CNN spreading lies. Civil War is being fought by the Democrats. Democrats object to a Free Market Private Sector System. George Soros is funding this. Factism. People being censored by leftists who want to destroy this country. Just like I believe the VA expansion is to get control of more veterans to ultimately either get them into debt or to throw them under the bus. Competition can only be ignited when profits and revenues are in play. VA does not exist with profits. It is funded by taxpayer dollars. “Liberty Tree” Foundation. Ben Manansky, is a hard core Communist. Law and Sociology profressor at University of California at Santa Barbara. Sedition. This guy is spreading lies about our country having concentration camps. Spreading lies in Europe. He is actively mobilizing people in the streets to impeach President Trump. Propagandist. Benjamin, see this crap. Some in the VA are aligned with this liar. Communists are in the VA. So there you go. I am not interested in the VA Healthcare Expansion Program. My health is better when I have control of it and managing it myself. I do have a degree in Exercise Physiology anyway. So I am informed. Best.

      2. Hey Veterans, Republicans and Democrats are all involved. Illegal Immigrants with red carpet being rolled out for them. American
        non-veteran and veteran citizens having to constantly fund this from their employment. American veterans still being shafted in my opinion.

  15. Just another mouse trap claiming to be better. The wait time for medical care is outlandish. I swear the VA loves the attrition via succumbing to vets ailments.

  16. I haven’t been on here in several months. My husband passed away 11/06/18 due to the effects of AO. In which the VA denied him service connection. My husband was on Choice and was using it all he could, since he was unable to travel 90 miles one way to Phoenix. However, the VA is still not paying any medical bills which has gone into 6 figures. Even though I have all the authorizations, came the denial letters. The VA even refused to pay for his kidney dialysis, until my husbands kidneys were failing and he decided to pull the plug and let himself die. It was then the VA said they would pay for it. Then he went on hospice for the remaining time. VA said they would cover that too, and they didn’t. It’s true…VA doesn’t pay the bills! Now I have a attorney to help me fight to get them to pay.

    1. So sorry to hear of your husbands pain and suffering, and the pain and suffering you are still having to endure.
      Prayers for victory in your struggles, and that you get restitution in what most assuredly was blatant neglect and denial of service connection from exposure to AO!

  17. I have both feet firmly planted on both sides of this issue. I’ve had success and miserable failure with Choice. Four- five years ago, I was sent to a doc via Choice because Roseburg didn’t have any/enough docs (routine scopes). It took months. But, I never had a billing problem. It just took forever to get there. Also, I’m glad I kept the paper reports sent to me by the physician, because these reports never made it into my VA files.

    More recently, I needed some imaging. Got it done locally within a few days without having to drive for 3.5 hours. Perhaps most surprising was that the image report showed up in my file within a few days. Even more surprising was that the images themselves were also in the VA “system” so my VA specialist could see them for herself, and, have her radiologist see/review them.

    The poisonous cynic in me looks at this program as another Obamacare – the sole objective being the gifting to Pig Pharma and Pig Med another 9 million patients.

    1. Windguy,
      Your one of the very few veterans NOT screwed by the VA on using the “[NON]Choice Program”!
      Count your lucky stars you aren’t a vet whose credit was ruined all due to VA NOT paying!

      1. OCTOBER 2018 I suffered a very serious stroke. Taken by local ambulance to the hospital that just happened to specialize in strokes. 4 weeks in ICU, 3 weeks in a regular room and then 3 more weeks in stroke rehab. VA payed every one of the bills with nothing late and no disputes. I could not be more tankful for the VA for taking care of me during this time.
        Anew clinic is being built in my area. I heard two vets taking in the waiting room about this new clinic. One of there complaints was that it will be closer to thier home so they will no longer qualify for mileage!! Had to bite my tongue to keep from reminding these two idiots of all that they get FREE….

      2. #Gary Crittenden,
        Your one of the lucky ones who benefited from the [NON]Choice Program.
        Ben put a blog on here, some time ago, explaining how thousands upon thousands of vets were screwed by the VA and non-payments! As a matter of fact, just here in Florida, physicians were owed a few million by the VA! And that was just Florida! Multiple that by 49 more states. Plus our territories and the amount will be astronomical!
        So, again. Thank your lucky stars!
        Is it because your an employee of the VA?

      3. Elf. Rest assured that I have indeed been bled by Pig Pharma. How did you think I wound up at the VA for medical care?. I won’t claim a warm and fuzzy. But, I have had more opportunities for health care input and outcome than I ever had from the “best”. I came in with lowered expectations. I’m vertical and ventilating.

  18. Crazy Elf
    Yes, absolutely.
    My point was Veterans suffer, due to this math. Many who are rated below 100%, do to low ratings, and wait years and sometimes decades, are suffering because of the VA math.
    I know how hard it is to get to 100%, and I know I’m not alone in low ball ratings, claims and appeals that have taken years and decades even.
    I have been unemployable do to my physical disabilities since 2014, and qualified for IU, and overly met those qualifications with ratings and medical proof, yet its been under appeal since it was denied in 2016.
    My issue is how the VA does the math, making it damn near impossible to get to that 100% burden of proof.

  19. My first go around with choice was horrible. I needed specialized care outside the VA, went to 1 treatment, 10 weeks later the DR. cancelled on the day of my 2nd treatment, due to failure to pay. That was 2017.
    So just like before, I travel 2 hours each way now, needing someone to drive me.
    May 9th was my 2nd go around with choice. A 30 minute drive, much closer and easier. I’m not sure how this go around will end.
    I’ve battled the VA for over 10 1/2 years, claims and appeals. I won my last claim in 12/22/2019 pushing my rating to 100% P&T.
    I still have an outstanding appeal that is nearly 3 yrs now.
    Choice should be what the word means, the Veteran should be given the choice for outside care, or to use the closest VA facility for the things he chooses.
    I will post how my 2nd go round with choice ends up. Shouldn’t be long to find out if Tri-West is better than Health-Net about paying the bills.

    1. One more thing. VA math on service connected disabilities needs to change. I have 13 service connected and secondary disabilities. Standard math says my rating is 240%, but VA math says 100%.
      I’m sure many of you are struggling with VA math, while struggling with your disabilities.
      This needs to change.

      1. Bryce,
        When you add your disability percentages, like I do. They add up to MORE than your “compensation percentages”!
        Compensation never goes above 100% on pay!
        You might receive monies for travel. House renovation. Car renovation. Etc.
        But your compensation will always be at a specific total.

        Does that make sense?

  20. You have any idea of what you think about the VA hospital in any area and the people who run it. The one who does the job is the one who leaves it because of the lack of response to the people who are screwing them and making their job so hard and will make sure they don’t speak out for fear of losing it. You can steel money, drugs and the life of those who they work for. Without any payback for what they did or care for who they killed. So I asked you Ben for years you say you were the voice of the Vets and what has happened to me and other you have info that we can use but like them in the VA it will cost me and other to get it. So who is fucking who and for what money I have not but a life I have little and lies to me and other we have many.

    1. Yes, james hanrahan,
      IF the va was run by honorable and trustworthy individuals, we out here would probably be receiving proper medical care and our deserved benefits! Basically, Veterans out here wouldn’t have any complaints. As it is, there’s way to much corruption going on.
      And, your partially correct on good people leaving. Only there’s still lots of these individuals who say – “I’d be a whistleblower, but I’m afraid I’ll lose my job!”
      Well, in my opinion, that’s a coward’s way of saying. “I’m sorry! But, you vets are on your own!”
      I’ll stop here because I’m already pissed at VA employees. I’ve just received documents proving this new “Nurse Practitioner” bullshitted my wife and I!

      1. I was never for the Choice program. But the doctor the VA sent my husband to and then back to the VA did finally after many years get to the bottom of why he has been so ill. They are treating him finally with good care. As for me I just had a total knee replacement done by out source Community Care. I got to choose my own doctor. I chose the one that I thought would be the best. And he really is the best. Tri-West has paid all. I was given in home nursing and PT Care. I am now in out-patient PT care.
        Far superior to what I would have gotten by the VA. But I can’t complain. I have had other Orthopedic surgeries all done by VA and they were tops. They just could not get to my knee till after August of this year. So I went with Community Care.
        You just have to stay on VA butts to get that after surgery discharge from hospital care. They kept me 2 days. I was authorized up to 4 days. I got everything promised me. And an unlimited lifetime knee prosthetics. Guaranteed to last 30+ years. As for VA voucher that is bull crap. Accept what we have in place with Choice and Community Care. It does work people.

  21. Make sure you read this.

    Place your Bets, Ladies and Gents.

    1. 2 1/2 years for a dental process that had been OK’d within 4 weeks. Then changed and changed again and again and is still pending. Glasses, never received a pair that were the correct prescription the first time. Referrals to outside medical care I’m still waiting months later. I do not trust that the government will ever fix any of that. I wonder what the VA employees would do if their performance bonus was delayed for that long? Biggest problem with the VA is lack of communication with the veteran.

  22. I’m the perfect example as to WHY vets should be given the “choice” we were promised. And has yet to be fulfilled!

    My PCP sent me to a civilian hospital/emergency room Nov 28. After a three day stay, with suffering, the VA compounded my suffering by NOT picking up the tab.
    This fell within the “guidelines” and “laws” of the Choice Program!
    The civilian hospital is approximately 5 miles away. The nearest VHA emergency room/hospital is 67 miles (according to AAA) with multiple (4 or 5) toll booths along the way.
    My PCP was/gave the authorization! The VA finance section actually “laughed at…” us and refused to pay the cost of anything!

    That’s exactly why I say:
    #FuckCashour he’s a lying sack of shit!
    I also say:
    Give ALL vets, who want it, a voucher as like Medicare. To use it whenever they need emergency healthcare. Even IF the vet is hospitalized the VA picks up the tab.
    (There’s one condition I’d impose.)
    The vet must be seen by a VHA physician/assistant at least once a year!
    Other than that:

    Yea, I’m still pissed and there’s MORE to come!

    1. P.S.
      I wonder how Cashour is going to repond to the Congressional Committee over the new allegations of another “wait time scandal/scam”.

    2. Except that there are lots and lots of private practice facilities that DO NOT take Medicare, and so would not take VA Medicare, either.

      The VA pays it’s Drs. shit for a reason—like all “entitlements”, the greedy fucks in the Administration and Congress (R & D) always see that money as a pot they want to filch from; so they aim to “keep costs down” and “eliminate fraud” (by eliminating veterans, not internal fraud).

      There isn’t going to be some magic awakening that causes the greedy fucks in the Administration and Congress to suddenly change their stripes. Three Card monty is ALWAYS a scam.

      1. Most Republicans and all Democrats are lobbyists and
        K-Streeters wearing Congressman/Congresslady and Senator suits. Dollar Bill wins over American Lives all the time.

      2. Democrats are sleezy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to put President Trump in prison. FOR WHAT??? Because he is reviving the country. Because he wants to improve situations for the American people. Because he stands for law and order. WHAT CRIME? Hillary Clinton is the one who needs to be in PRISON. Democrats will all be thrown out of office by being voted out if this happens. Dump Andrew Weissman into Rickers prison where they are putting Paul Manifort. Why are the Republicans such cowards? Republicans in their Yoga pants. Democrats marching with their pitch folks. Vast majority of D-Day
        fighters were white Christian men.
        Remember, Democrats do not care for white Christian men. As for the VA expansion of the healthcare services, I believe this process needs to happen. Because the VA employees do need competition to make them do their jobs with decency and deliver humane care. What is happening is a touch of the Free Market is being applied to the system in which it does need to be opened up. Many of the VA employees reject this expansion because they do not understand and they do not care about life. Let’s put them on the receiving end and give them a taste of what they dish out. Benjamin, yes, the expansion is good if the VA follows thru with accountability. Benjamin, honestly, in my opinion, the VA employees are not connected to the why of why this needs to happen. No, I am not speaking for myself at the current time. I am speaking up for other veterans with basing my comments on what I have been thru and what I have experienced. At the present time, I am doing well- in school and working soon. My comments are in support of the other veterans.

        Ultimately though, as long as the government is involved, I do not predict much success. Greed mongers.

      3. @Angela…could you actually **explain** any of the assertions in your post to me? What does the purported composition of “D-Day fighters”—and the alleged “do not care for” attitude of “Democrats” have to do with anything under discussion here? Why is your dislike of Clinton grounds for incarceration? Why is your adoration of Trump grounds for pardon? What is it that makes Democrats “sleezy (sic)”?

        And why is any of that relevant?

      4. The issues influence and overlap each other because they originate from the some of the same agenda.

      5. Steven, it is not about my liking or disliking Hillary Clinton at all. Has nothing to do with it. Has nothing to do with liking or disliking Trump either. It is about how the Democrats are trying to destroy the country by refusing to act on many issues with the VA having been one of them and Hillary Clinton is the source of all this crap with the Obama administration engaging in what they have engaged in to protect her. My comments are such that if law, order, accountability, and Borders are not restored in this country the VA healthcare expansion will not be successful. This is my whole point. All related. If principles and values are not part of as in doing what is right, accountability will not exist anywhere. Points to listening to one’s conscience and acting accordingly.

      6. Steven, relating to the Double Standard. Same happenings in the VA. I am not saying that I do not appreciate Secretary Robert Wilkie’s efforts because I do. I just hope his efforts lead to success. With all that is happening, it is going to be difficult unless accountability is applied. If accountability is applied in one area then it will take hold elsewhere. All part of the big picture.

  23. Great! But if the VA doesn’t pay the facilities, which they have failed to do since the inception of this program, providers won’t and don’t accept participants.

    Great press, … no improvements.

    1. Yep, you got that right.
      I wonder what the REAL or TRUE count is on the amount of veterans who used the [NON]Choice Program. Where it later was found they were fucked because the VA didn’t pay the bills!

      I know Ben put something on here a long time ago. Just can’t remember the facts!

  24. And some apparent trouble in Tampa . . .


      1. Not sure. But something is up as this is the second time in a week they have had an incident involving a (my retired handle) Disgruntled Veteran, with explosives.

  25. Contextual Error: “I also think that there are many things that the VA does well, as it screws up”

    Should read:

    I also think that there are just as many things that the VA does well, as it screws up

  26. I think that all veterans should be able to walk into any medical facility in this country if they require Urgent Care, and the VA should cover the cost.

    I also think that there are many things that the VA does well, as it screws up. For me personally, my medical care would basically be a 50/50 mix. I would use VA facilities for some things, and other things I would use Non-VA facilities for.

    True choice is what veterans need. This (in concept) is a step in the right direction. However, we will have to wait at least 6 months to a year – – – in order for veterans to share their ‘real world’ experiences with this new program to really see how things shake out.

    1. Benjamin, Curt Cashour saying veterans like VA care. He says opting for community care is different than having care in the VA with being eligible for Community Care or care from within the VA. He is speaking with lack of information. Benjamin, it is the VA who forced me to move my care out of the VA. I had an eye infection and could not get an appointment until 8 months in the future. Benjamin, they read my eye glass prescription incorrectly. Benjamin, I depend on me. I need my eyes. Also, I had a kidney infection in which the VA had did a CT SCAN and did not bother to treat. Prior to this time frame Benjamin I had over 7 travel providers. No continuity at all. Kidney infection did not get treated until a year later after I moved my Healthcare out of the VA. Nurses not using gloves when doing IVs. Eating food while doing this care in urgent care in the treatment rooms. It is not a wonder that the VA employees are not sick too. Because they are unsanitary in the way they do treatment. But this is not all. Had a neuroma on the ball of my foot could not be seen by VA until months later. So I dealt with it myself. Castor oil and prescribed orthotics–now gone. Private Sector podiatrist only cared about injections of alcohol or steroids or surgery. I said forget that. I healed my own foot. Benjamin, I have a dental condition caused and happened in the Navy. VA failed to fix. They just kicked down the road. Thyroid was well out of control. Anti bodies thru the roof during this time frame. Benjamin, my list goes on. Benjamin,
      the VA physician would not provide documentation to Voc Rehab at all. Voc Rehab denied. Denial of conversion from VEAP to the Montgomery GI Bill. So Benjamin, if the veterans cannot get anything done, they should leave the VA if they can. VA System has been so thwarting and sabotaging that acquiring new education or Certifications to re-enter the workforce with has almost made it not feasible. Benjamin, along with not being able to get anything done in a timely manner and with all the friction involved, I chose not to remain in the VA. Plus, I was fighting to go to school and return to the workforce. And veterans cannot be fighting with the VA and succeed in school to work with new in demand skills at the same time. Curt Cashour is a very shallow thinker. The VA declined big time under the Obama administration. Curt Cashour should do more research to get to the truth.

      1. Oh, yes, my health is much improved since I left the VA.
        I have been gone for almost 5 years. Managing my health mostly myself. The issues that the VA were kicking down the road were cleared up. If I had continue to hang around in the VA fighting to be seen, I could have become really sick. I mean sick. Lost tons of weight. Weights and run-walk 4.5 miles in one hour and 10 minutes. Only have annual visits now. VA wrong.
        As for mental health like I have mentioned, veterans do not know until they know. VA sabotages this. Curt Cashour is status quo and appears to be resistant to veterans being able to improve their lives and their health. Maybe he should be on the receiving end for awhile to get a taste of what he and other VA types have dished out. Best.

      2. VA can dislike me or whatever they choose. But from what I have witnessed, I do not care what happens to the VA whether it sinks or swims. Government involvement destroys lives. This is my opinion.

    2. Benjamin, in regards to Healthcare, Trump administration eased the new development regulation on the Opiate alternative “Conolidine”. It is a natural alkaloid acts similar to Morphine. It does not have side effects and does not have addictive qualities. It is been tied up in Big Pharma since 2011. The Opiate alternative was developed by the Scripps Institute. This good news for vets with pain as well as regular American citizens. If the VA will put it on its formulary and prescribed it. Benjamin, you maybe aware. If not, here is another pharmaceutical improvement to help people with pain. Hopefully.

      1. VA maybe looking into it. Good points are that it is not addictive and it is without side effects based on the medical reports.

      2. @Angela, firstly, the VA would have to recommit to Pain Management from the National Level down—at the moment, the VA has left the field.

        The actual facts—I realise you dislike facts, but I find them crucial to making informed decisions—are that both Party R and Party D are guilty of playing politics with Pain. There are, at most, a few million real chronic pain sufferers, nation-wide. That’s nothing, as far as votes go. So it’s an easy “win” where everyone can announce what great guys they are and how much they love American and/or “our” Veterans, by eliminating opioids.

        And meanwhile, as far as actual OD deaths are concerned, they are overwhelmingly occurring among illegal drug users—just as they always have. The only change is that more of them are killing themselves by OD because more of them have access to Fentanyl, a recent-ish addition to the FDA Approved Narcotic Analgesics. Fentanyl is far more powerful than Morphine or the previous top-tier narcotic analgesic, Dilaudid. So it’s real easy to kill one’s elf by accident with it. That IS cause for alarm, and we SHOULD act to alter that situation, but NOT by just eliminating useful medications because some people kill themselves with it.

        Because the fact is that the FDA approved this drug for which there is no legitimate long-term role—it has a very real and beneficial role in immediate relief of severe pain—the Official Position of the State became “all narcotic analgesics are Opioids, and all opioids are Bad”. That way, nobody has to think, or explain, or even worry, about what exactly it is they are doing. They get a photo op and out.

        And let’s be clear—this blog’s favourite son and your poster-boy for What Is Good, President Trump, is all on board with this ill-considered penalisation of those of us, including combat veterans, who are in chronic pain from multiple injuries. It isn’t Big Pharma or Hilary Clinton’s emails. Nor is it just Trump. Or Obama. Or GW. It’s systematic.

        As to this particular Miracle Drug mentioned by Angela—Conolidine—it is no threat to Big Pharma. Poppies can also be grown in one’s back yard. But not legally. So anything that actually manages severe pain is going to be made a Schedule Drug and put under the control of Drs. and Pharmaceutical Companies. It is classified as an Opioid, just like Dilaudid and Fentanyl, which are synthetics, and not opioids at all.

        And don’t be so quick to assume that claims like “no side effects” and “not addictive” are true or accurate. Remember Oxycontin? It was/is also not addictive—it does create dependence, but not “addiction”. And it has no “new” side effects.

        But it works. Not so well for me—all of the narcotic analgesics vary in their effects on individuals—but for lots and lots of people. And you can get high from it, just like you can from lots of other drugs. Why the illegal use should carry more weight than the legal use is a question you might think about.

        There are no miracles. There is no magic. It’s a choice between agonising pain and the side-effects of powerful pain killers. No one should make that choice for the Veteran—really for any patient—and certainly not an ignorant politician or political appointee.

        Why do all you “small government” people only ever want the government out of big corporations, and not out of everyday people’s lives? OH…yeah…then you couldn’t force me to live my life according to your beliefs.

      3. Steven, I wrote my post put out by a legitimate source. The med alternative to Morphine does not have addictive qualities and does not have side effects. Everything I write comes from credible sources. I do not pull out of thin air. As for my experiences, they are my factual experiences. If you honestly want to know how I feel about pain meds, I do not support them at all. So how about that? As a matter of fact, the best way to deal with pain is to move the damn body and don’t lay the bed everyday. And too, a few years ago, I had a arm surgery. Steven, I did not take not one pain pill. This country too often looks for a drug to solve everything. And too, the body heals faster if it is moved. Not sit around and whine and complain. So now you hear me. Truth. My truth and others truths.

      4. Steven, just because the FDA approves it does not mean that it is not harmful to the body. Hell, the VA prescribes FDA Black Box Listed Medications that are banned in other countries. How about that? In my opinion, probably 3/4 of the FDA drugs on their formulary need to be dumped into an incinerator and destroyed. Do not include me in your labels of government officials. I speak for myself. I have my own facts from my own life. Steven, you are quick to place judgment.

      5. Steven, one can never assume. Even the VA cannot, in many cases they believe they can determine without actually knowing. They assume without being in the know. This is what leads to many denials. But in many cases it goes even further than this. The VA many times does not bother to even assume. They just dictate and decide based on who is looking at it for that particular day. Steven, my speaking about the pain med was just a congenial gesture to put it out there as maybe a possibility for veterans to ask about?? And, Benjamin, to inquire about?? That is all. I did not have to even bother to write about it in Ben’s blog to begin with. I could have left it alone. The information given was a possible souce to help. That is all. Steven, what good does it do to attack people or to mock people who are trying to help? What purpose does it serve? There are still good genuine people who live in this country. There are some good decent people who work in the VA; but, they get sunk by the idiots or by other VA employees who are just there for themselves. Ultimately, though, I personally do not agree with many of these Medications to begin with. Use temporarily and then try to move forward or learn other alternatives so one can get off the Medications. What is best for the body most of the time is what comes from God’s World or from the Earth or from nature anyway. All of this synthetic man made crap is sometimes just good for the incinerator or for the garbage. Not conducive for life to begin with. All about a dollar bill.

      6. @Angela…ever been shot? Ever been blown off the back of a utility vehicle by a car bomb? Ever been splattered by Phosphorous or Lithium (smoke and target markers)? Ever been shelled?

        For those of us who have, the choices aren’t so simple as “get up and move”.

        And how DARE you accuse combat wounded veterans of “whinning”.

        See…I can play the mis-representation game, too. Now let’s stop name-calling and move on:

        I do agree that movement is absolutely essential to good health. As is staying involved in life and remaining active. No argument there. Of course, the right level of pain medication helps those of us who have suffered multiple combat wounds Do those things.

        Also, poppies—and the opiates made from them—are completely natural.

        As for the drug you brought up—I’m not a partisan of Party R or Party D or President Anybody, so I believe that everything should be subject to scrutiny and all claims viewed with skepticism. Please don’t take that personally.

        I did not confuse you with “labels of government officials”. I believe you are so enamoured of Trump that you cannot and will not think critically about him or those who differ with him.

        I’m regret that you feel I mocked you or attacked you personally. Not my intent. I do engage in that—I’m as flawed as anyone—but I dislike it when I do.

        I feel that you are projecting your behaviour on to me—you make frequent use of pejorative and judgemental phraseology, like “sleezy (sic) Democrats” (that ‘sic’ means I am reproducing your spelling, btw…, because the word is actually spelt “sleazy”).

        But if would point out where you feel I mocked you or attacked you personally, I will take a look at them.

        I **do** believe your arguments are weak. And because they use so much pejorative phraseology I believe they are the Party Line (of President Trump, though, not of any single Party). It is my right and privilege as a citizen to criticise your positions, just as it is yours, mine.

        For example, what is your source for your claims about Conolidine? Post it. I’m no fan of “Big Pharma”, but I also know when I’m being sold some one els’s shopping list. One of the drugs for my head trauma costs $700 ($694 or something equally absurd) without insurance, but $30 with. How is that NOT a scam?

        I dislike President Trump’s official conduct and policies. We differ there. So that will always be an area of friction, because you see his official conduct and his policies differently. That’s good for the country, really. It’s good for a democracy to have voices in opposition.

        Stay safe, sister.

Comments are closed.