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Fighting for Veterans' Health Care


By the VHPI Steering Committee (VHPI was originally named ‘Fighting for Veterans’ Healthcare’)

On December 5, 2016 a group of northern California veterans, health care professionals and citizens met to discuss the challenges and imminent threats facing the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA).

The VHA is the largest health care system in the United States. Based on our personal experience with it - as patients, providers and health care experts - we believe the VHA needs to be strengthened and reformed, not undermined or dismantled.

At our founding meeting, we decided to help set the record straight about the quality of veterans’ health care. The VHA represents the most successful model for comprehensive, not-for-profit medical coverage in the United States. It far outperforms the private sector on preventive and outpatient care measures.

Its primary mission is to serve the eight million men and women who served their country and qualified for VHA benefits. But the VHA does far more than meet the special needs of veterans. It supports research that has pioneered new treatments and improved patient safety for Americans and trains the vast majority of US doctors and nurses.

In a few VHA facilities, patients have experienced much-publicized appointment delays, due to understaffing and management failures. These were the exceptions, not the rule. Opinion polls consistently show that most veterans—and their advocacy organizations -- want the VHA to be improved, not replaced.

We are also committed to that goal because the VA offers better care at lower cost than any private insurer or for-profit hospital system could ever provide for veterans. Outsourcing and privatization of VHA services would lead to fragmented, lower-quality care. The human casualties of this experiment would be enormous.

We will do our best to inform the public about such threats and support the organizations of veterans and VHA employees who want to build on, rather than destroy, our nation’s 86-year investment in the best care anywhere.

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