In a recent article by Eric Russell, titled “Opponents attack Michaud over VA scandal” (May 31), I found it interesting just how long it took for opponents of Mike Michaud to politicize this issue for their personal and political gain.

There is no politician in Maine today who has done more to help our veterans than U.S. Rep. Michaud.

In Congress, he has sponsored more than 500 bills pertaining to veterans: combating veterans’ homelessness, increasing funding for veterans’ health care, addressing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and improving the delivery of health care to veterans in remote parts of the state.

With recent reports of the National Guard situation and the Alexander Report fiasco, I can see why the governor would like to have the heat turned up on someone else.

As for Eliot Cutler, for someone who has never taken one demonstrable step to help veterans in Maine, it’s telling that he would choose to start caring about this issue in an election year.

As a veteran and retired Veterans Affairs employee of more than 32 years, I do not find the reports of the scandalous delay of primary care appointments necessarily surprising.

I do find it interesting that the problem – besides the likely criminal misconduct of senior VA hospital executives – stems from having a very unrealistic policy of seeing veterans within 14 days of a request. In 2013, the 153 VA hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics had 90 million outpatient visits, nearly 250,000 visits per day.

The projected costs of care for our recent veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan may hit $4 trillion to $6 trillion in the coming decades, according to a 2013 study by Harvard University. The cost of war is a long-term commitment. It doesn’t end when the bullets stop.

Roy W. Driver, M.S., LCPC


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