Friday, February 02, 2007

LTE's from the Strib

Here are some of the LTE's from the Strib, commenting on the death of a young Marine.


Where are the funds?
The story of Jonathan Schulze ("This Marine's death came after he served," Jan. 27) is deeply disturbing and unforgivable.
The veterans of Vietnam taught us the lessons of post-traumatic stress disorder. How this young man could have been so poorly served by the mental health system, especially Veterans Affairs hospitals in two separate cities, is unconscionable.
How is it that we can afford a war in Iraq and yet not be prepared on our own shores to take care of the courageous soldiers who return? Where are the funds to properly staff our hospitals? Where are the funds to train and prepare the soldiers and their families for the psychological wounds that come with the devastation of war?
While God may have answered Jonathan's prayers bringing him home alive, his country failed him by being unable to address his needs once he returned.


Prepare now for return

The death of Marine Jonathan Schulze is sad and tragic. This summer 2,600 or so Minnesota National Guard troops will be returning from a two-year deployment. Will Veterans Affairs be prepared to handle their needs? These brave men and women have gone and done their duty at great sacrifice to themselves and their families. I hope our elected officials will ensure the VA has the resources to assist our soldiers as needed. They deserve nothing less.


Mental health parity

If Jonathan Schulze had shown up at the VA bleeding profusely, he would have been admitted.
Depression is a treatable disease, not a character flaw. I blame elected officials with puffed-up empty promises about supporting our troops; I blame a health care system that puts the almighty dollar first; I blame an American public that prefers to focus on gay marriage rather than veterans benefits.
Jim Ramstad is cosponsoring the mental health parity bill that will treat mental health issues like other diseases. It also will improve veterans' mental health care.
Perhaps in the meantime, Halliburton can make a generous contribution to the VA to help free up the waiting list. Our soldiers deserve better.


The Mental Health Bill that Ramstad is co-sponsoring, if I am not mistaken, is the bill Paul Wellstone was working on in the Senate years ago. The mental health care of not only Veterans, but all American's is an issue that goes unresolved from campaign to campaign.

A comment about the VA budget. In fact, the VA has seen budget increases the past several years. Unfortunatelt, these increases have been lower than inflation AND are swallowed up by a 1.2 million patient increase since 2005, a 10% increase in patient coverage.

Obviously more appropriations are in order to have a high quality VA. Beyond budget increases though, we must have a public that is mindful of these issues. We must elect political leaders who do not pay lip service to these important issues.

Where is Congresswoman Bachmann? She touts regualrly her support of our troops. The VA Hospital in question is in her district. A comment would be nice.

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