Promises and follow through from politicians is often something that you may not be able to count on. In some cases, however, the inability of administration to follow through on their promises is rather upsetting. Recently, both President Obama and Congress have shown their inability in following through on the implementation of the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. For a country that has said that ending veteran’s homelessness is an end goal in the near future, administration is certainly lacking in their ability to provide basic support for veterans and caregivers.
The criticism over this failed implementation has fallen upon President Obama, Congress, and the VA. The Act was signed through last year with a January 31, 2011 deadline for starting the program. Unfortunately the date came and passed without any type of action. Congress spoke out under pressure by saying that they were apologetic and hoped to have the plan implemented by the end of the summer.
If it were to be enabled, the act would provide a number of support structures for soldiers who served after 2001 and are in need of a caregiver. This would include lodging expenses, food expenses, respite care, as well as care giving training for spouses and family. Unfortunately this caregiver act still has some glaring deficiencies. Because of the post 2001 provision, many older veterans in need of a caregiver will be left without any type of government support for the future.
Certainly the wounds of war and injuries are plaguing our recent soldiers who have fought in the past ten years, but there are plenty of older veterans who are still suffering health problems as a result of their military service. Problems like Parkinson’s disease, mesothelioma, and Hodgkin’s disease have continued to plague older veterans, years after their time in the service. Many veterans of Vietnam have been highly affected from Agent Orange. This dangerous mix of pesticides has gone onto cause lifelong health issues like Parkinson’s and Hodgkin’s. The common use of asbestos throughout the 20th century in shipyards and military bases has caused tons of mesothelioma cases. Many of these patients need a caregiver to get through their every day routine. This type of care is important because mesothelioma life expectancy is so severe and short, often averaging less than a year after diagnosis. This is just a sample of the long list of problems that continue to effect veterans long after their time in the service.
With all of the military related health issues that continue to effect soldiers, the need for continued government support is required. The government has been outspoken about their intentions to end veteran homelessness in the near future and getting this caregiver act finally implemented would be a great first step. Allowing less stress on the financial burdens that can come along with health issues can only help to prevent from homelessness in the future.