Imagine sacrificing your life for your country. Doing far more tours than you expected. Seeing some of your best friends die. It’s been 14 years since the War on Terror began, but our soldiers have been placed in far more regions around the world. Forgotten are the World War II veterans, Korea, Vietnam, there are still men and women who served our country that are consistently overlooked, given far too little for much more than any of us could imagine.
“Female veterans — age 18 to 34 — are three times as likely as their civilian peers to die by suicide,” says Portland State University researcher Mark Kaplan who conducted the first large-scale study of suicide among female veterans.
In a December 2010 NPR article, issues with Women Veterans revealed the difficulty they have in returning home. “They not only deal with PTSD, according to Dr. Jan Kemp, who runs the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Suicide Prevention Hotline, “Many of the women who call her hot line, she says, are struggling to deal with military rapes they experienced during their deployments. And the women who call, Kemp says, talk much more about their children.”
That was four years ago. In June of last year far more was exposed. Healthcare for women veterans is inadequate. Last year, the Associated Press found the VA falling short.
What can women Veterans expect? Could it have an affect on their health? Could he be responsible for even killing Women Veterans because of lack of care?
The bill, also called the “Hire More Heroes” bill legally designates veterans as non-persons, gives them no access to private employer healthcare and lets big corporation hire as many vets with VA healthcare and not count them toward the 50 person employer mandate that would require a company to subsidize private healthcare. Women will legally be forced to use only VA benefits, because #HR22 designates them as non-persons.
What can women expect?
According to an Associated Press review of VA internal documents, inspector general reports and interviews:
— Nationwide, nearly one in four VA hospitals does not have a fulltime gynecologist on staff. And about 140 of the 920 community-based clinics serving veterans in rural areas do not have a designated women’s health provider, despite the goal that every clinic would have one.
— When community-based clinics refer veterans to a nearby university or other private medical facility to be screened for breast cancer, more than half the time their mammogram results are not provided to patients within two weeks, as required under VA policy.
— Female veterans have been placed on the VA’s Electronic Wait List at a higher rate than male veterans. All new patients who cannot be schedule for an appointment in 90 days or less are placed on that wait list.
— And according to a VA presentation last year, female veterans of child-bearing age were far more likely to be given medications that can cause birth defects than were women being treated through a private HMO.
So understandably, I’m having a little trouble understanding why ‘Hire More Heroes’ passed the House of Representative unanimously and will go to the Senate in just a few days. Where was Tulsi Gabbard or Tammy Duckworth?
It’s time to stand up for our Women Veterans since the ones in Congress won’t do it for them.
Every single veteran in Congress carries private health insurance subsidized by Americans.
Women Veterans Will Be Counted.
Source images: 1) http://communitylifeline.org/march-is-female-veterans-month-in-texas/ 2)http://www.usvetsinc.org/information-center/portfolio/advance-womens-program/