Veteran Health Care Dominates West Virginia Clinton Speech

This story was written by Ashley Deem, The Parthenon
Sen. Hillary Clinton came to Huntington, W.Va., Wednesday, focusing on veterans' issues in a round table discussion with veterans at the American Legion Post 16 on Sixth Avenue.

The theme of the discussion was veterans, young and old, and veterans' families are not receiving the help they need with health care and adjusting from military life to civilian life.

One veteran said veterans and their families find it difficult to use TRICARE services, a military health care system, in West Virginia because many physicians and hospitals are not part of the network and do not accept it.

The solution to the issue, Clinton said, is to have more VA hospitals available to veterans in rural areas and to update and modernize the TRICARE system.

Clinton also said another problem with TRICARE is it lacks medical records for service members and veterans for a few reasons. Some medical records are lost when troops are attacked. Some medical records are also unknown because veterans do not know their medical history due to the trauma they suffer.

Inefficiency with the TRICARE system has also been an issue, Clinton said.

Many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, making it difficult for them to adjust to civilian life.

About 200,000 veterans become homeless, and many are jobless, Clinton said.

The American people have a responsibility to the service members and veterans, Clinton said.

"When someone signs up to serve our country," Clinton said, "we all sign up to serve that person."

Another problem discussed was the slow response to disability claims of veterans.

About 400,000 disability claims need to be addressed, Clinton said.

Other issues discussed were the need for universal health care and the plan to withdraw troops from Iraq if Clinton is elected president.

Clinton said with the Iraq war, the military has been exhausted and money being spent in Iraq could be better spent elsewhere such as improving infrastructure within the state.

Clinton said many of the problems Americans are facing now result from decisions made by the Bush Administration.

"We will see the end of the Bush administration, thankfully," Clinton said. "I think you will all agree we are anxiously awaiting that moment."

However, Clinton said a change in presidency is not the only change necessary, but also a change in bureaucracies.

Clinton said America needs a change in attitude, taking on the idea Americans need to roll up their sleeves and do the work together.

Marshall University sophomore biology major Alyson Altzer and junior legal studies major Matt Natney, both from Williamson, W.Va., are Clinton supporters who attended the event.

Altzer and Natney said they liked Clinton because she has experience and good ideas. They also support her because she addresses issues important to West Virginians.

"She handles a lot of issues that are close to home," Natney said.
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