It is disheartening to hear of recent news on how veterans are receiving that health care benefit from the VA in the form of continued promises and long waiting lists just to receive an initial consultation. During my army career I became familiar with the saying of “hurry up and wait.” It was a phrase that was often passed around when getting ready for training exercises or deployments. It was an easy way to describe the expectation that the soldiers should hustle, arrive early, and wait for the service providers for whatever they are doing to arrive. I am afraid that this paradigm has transferred over to how veterans receive their benefits. The veteran is asked to hurry at the first sign of any health concern and fill out the necessary paperwork to get on a waiting list to be seen by a provider. It is estimated that there are more than 120,000 veterans who are currently waiting for care, begging for a benefit that they have earned through their service to our country. Even with current legislation to limit the waiting time to 30 days before the veteran can use a private facility, it does not go far enough.

Our veterans have answered Uncle Sam’s call to defend our constitution and followed the lawful orders given them to be where they needed to be, when they needed to be there. They did not put Uncle Sam on a waiting list and tell him that they will get to it when they are available. We should respect our veterans enough to show them the same respect and give them access to the health care that they deserve.

Russell Gray

Saratoga Springs