Obama Promises Better, Expanded Care for Veterans

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weekly addressCalling veteran care the nation’s “solemn responsibility,” President Barack Obama last week said the Department of Veterans Affairs will start making it easier for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to get the benefits and treatment they need.

In his weekly address, Obama on Saturday highlighted veterans care and what the administration is doing to help those men and women who have served the nation.

“Just as we have a solemn responsibility to train and equip our troops before we send them into harm’s way, we have a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they’ve earned when they come home,” Obama said. “That is our sacred trust with all who serve – and it doesn’t end when their tour of duty does.”

Obama said to maintain that trust, the administration is building a 21st-century VA, increasing its budget, and ensuring the  continuous funding it needs to support medical care for veterans. And to deliver better care in more places, healthcare for veterans will be expanded and increased by building new wounded-warrior facilities and adapting care to better meet the needs of female veterans.

The president also addressed the problem with homeless veterans, saying his administration is working on preventing and ending homelessness because “no one who served in our uniform should sleep on our streets.”

Speaking about post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, the president noted that while many veterans suffer from these injuries, not enough of them receive the screening and treatment they need.

“Now, in past wars, this wasn’t something America always talked about,” Obama said. “And as a result, our troops and their families often felt stigmatized or embarrassed when it came to seeking help. Today, we’ve made it clear up and down the chain of command that folks should seek help if they need it. In fact, we’ve expanded mental health counseling and services for our vets.”

Starting today, the Department of Veterans Affairs will begin making it easier for a veteran with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs, Obama said. It is a long-overdue step that will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, but generations of their predecessors who served in all of the U.S. wars, he added.

“It’s a step that proves America will always be here for our veterans, just as they’ve been there for us,” Obama said. “We won’t let them down. We take care of our own. And as long as I’m commander-in-chief, that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”

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