Issue Position: Veterans
As Americans, we should honor and respect all veterans of our military services. We should keep our commitments to veterans not just because they deserve it and it is the right thing to do, but also because it impacts our national defense. As a wise general once said, "Our ability to recruit soldiers to fight our next war is directly dependent upon how we take care of our veterans of previous wars."
As a member of the Senate, my commitment to our veterans has remained firm. I have supported fiscally reponsible efforts to increase spending on veterans' health care. I also supported an amendment to increase the military death gratuity to $100,000 for members of the Armed Forces on active duty after October 7, 2000. I have consistently voted to expand funding for medical care, long-term care and extended care programs. In fact, in a report by the national Disabled American Veterans (DAV), I was ranked number one in the Oklahoma delegation for having co-sponsored the most veteran's bills.
As a practicing physician, I have personally cared for hundreds of Oklahoma veterans. While a member of the House of Representatives, I consistently voted to protect and increase funding for veterans health programs. In fact, I offered an amendment that increased veteran's health care funding more than $300 million by shifting resources away from bureaucracy to direct patient care. Time and again, I voted to expand funding for medical care, long-term care, and extended care programs.
It is important we remember the sacrifices these brave men and women have made to protect our freedom. Veterans have made a commitment to our nation and our nation must keep its commitment to those who sacrificed to keep us free. However, spending more money is far from a cure-all solution. Only by addressing the structural challenges in our health care system will we improve health care for veterans and all Americans.
Part of the solution, I believe, should begin with giving our military personnel a dose of what they are fighting for overseas - freedom. Our soldiers and veterans should be empowered to make choices, not forced to navigate a rigid health care bureaucracy that makes decisions for them. If you are a veteran and need assistance, I encourage you to contact Pat Guinn in my Tulsa office at (918) 581-7651. Pat is a veteran of the Army and Army National Guard who is exclusively dedicated to assisting veterans and active military with problems they might have.