Monday, March 5, 2007

Kucinich: Soldiers at Walter Reed Deserve the Best Care Possible

Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich's congressional website posted the following press release.

Kucinich: Soldiers at Walter Reed Deserve the Best Care Possible
Stop Ordering Reviews and Fix the Problem

Washington, Mar 2 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 2) — Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement upon hearing of the steps the Administration is taking to remedy the decrepit conditions at Walter Reed.

“Our wounded soldiers deserve nothing but the best care when they return home from battle and they are not getting it right now,” Kucinich said. “The indifference of this Administration has been trickling down to affect the veterans and service members. This is just intolerable.”

Today, President Bush ordered a comprehensive review of care for the wounded service members and announced that he is setting up a new bipartisan commission to conduct it. This is the third review to be announced since a Washington Post series last week exposed filthy living conditions and a web of bureaucratic tape that traps outpatients at Walter Reed.

“Stop calling for reviews to find out what the problems are; we already know what they are. Now we need to fix them.”

Kucinich will consider offering an amendment that states that each soldier who comes back from war should be provided with special care until all their needs are met. “We owe it to them and we shouldn’t be slacking on any expense when it comes to caring for wounded soldiers.”

“This is typical of this Administration: ordering more reviews, bogging down the process with more red tape. Just fix the problems. Get our active duty service members and veterans the best care they deserve. All we are getting from this Administration is more mumbo-jumbo,” Kucinich said, citing a quote that appeared in today’s Washington Post by White House spokeswoman Dana Perino:

Asked why Bush considers it necessary to form another review commission, Perino said the aim of the latest panel is “to look forward -- to look at the range of health care and mental health care and other needs, in terms of helping the whole person for veteran care when they return. . . . I know that there is a desire to really focus on the global war on terror veterans.”
Clarifying that answer, the White House later said that Gates “established the Independent Review Group (IRG) to conduct an assessment of outpatient treatment…. The scope of the presidential commission will be broader, including the transfer of discharged servicemen and women from [Defense Department] facilities into the Veterans Affairs system, and other military and veterans hospitals.

“Creating more review groups is only prolonging the time it takes for our veterans and active duty service members to receive the very best, quality care that they need,” Kucinich said.

“We’ve already had a review: it was done by The Washington Post. Now is the time to take action on behalf of those soldiers who put their lives on the line for America.”

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