Obama particularly wants to improve assistance
to recently returned veterans, and his goal is to provide better healthcare and mental-health assistance
to all vets. According to his Blueprint, Obama would:
• Ensure a seamless transition. Obama wants to
implement programs that make it easier for veterans
to make the change to civilian life.
• Fully fund VA medical care. Obama says he’ll fully fund the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
to ensure it has the resources to take care of veterans
properly. He also wants to establish a planning division to properly budget for the VA each year.
• Allow all veterans back into the VA. In 2003,
veterans with modest incomes were banned from receiving the benefits of the VA. Obama says one of his
first acts as president will be to reverse this decision.
• Strengthen VA care. Obama says he’ll work to
improve care for polytrauma vision impairment,
prosthetics and spinal-cord injuries. He’ll also work
to ensure improved care for older veterans and for
• Improve mental-health treatment. Obama says
he’ll work to improve mental-health care at every
stage of military service by recruiting more mental-health professionals, improving the screening
process, offering more family support and making
post-traumatic-stress-disorder benefit claims fairer.
• Improve care for traumatic brain injury. Obama
says he will establish standards of care for traumatic
brain injury, the signature injury of the Iraq war.
• Expand vet centers. Obama says he will work to
expand and strengthen vet centers to provide more
counseling for vets and their families.
• Fix the benefits bureaucracy. Obama would support hiring additional claims workers and improve
training and accountability so VA benefit decisions
are rated fairly and consistently. He also wants make
the paper benefit-claims process an electronic one to
reduce errors and improve timeliness.
• Combat homelessness among our nation’s
veterans. Obama says he will establish a national zero-tolerance policy for veterans falling into homelessness
by expanding proven programs and launching services
to prevent veterans from becoming homeless.
• Fight veterans’ employment discrimination, including a crackdown on employers who discriminate
against guardsmen and reservists.
McCain, himself a veteran of the Vietnam Offensive, offers a comprehensive plan to overhaul veterans’ affairs in America. More specifically, he would
expand available and existing healthcare options.
According to his web site, McCain’s veterans’
• Funding veterans’ healthcare. McCain has
voted, over his career, “to ensure that the Veterans’
Affairs healthcare programs receive the funding
necessary to serve our veterans. He has supported
numerous funding increases, initiatives to make
the VA more efficient, and proposals to give higher
pay to VA doctors to recruit and retain high-quality
physicians and dentists.”
• Expanding veterans’ access to healthcare.
“McCain has worked to ensure that geography
does not prevent veterans from receiving the care
they have earned. He supported measures to allow
veterans in remote areas of Alaska to get care at
existing facilities run by the Indian Health Service
or tribal organizations. He also rallied support for a
demonstration project to send mobile health centers
to remote locations where veterans need care. In
addition, he sponsored legislation that would ensure
that healthcare funding is distributed fairly, and that
eligible veterans in all regions of the country can
equally access high-quality healthcare.”
• Serving the special healthcare needs of veterans.
McCain says he “understands that veterans face
a broad array of health challenges, many of which
disproportionately afflict our former service
members. He has fought to ensure that veterans
receive healthcare that reflects their unique needs.”
• Healthcare for retired veterans. “McCain
believes that all military retirees, even if they are not
eligible for VA healthcare, should be provided with
meaningful access to healthcare. He has supported
allowing military retirees to remain eligible for
CHAMPUS or TRICARE military healthcare
programs even when they reach the age of 65 and
are eligible for Medicare. He has also supported
efforts to give military retirees tax breaks to help
pay health-insurance premiums, and he has opposed
placing user fees on military retirees for using
military medical facilities.”
Read more about specific candidate plans on their web
sites: www.JohnMcCain.com and www.BarackObama.com