Nikki Haley unveils a five-point plan to help American veterans
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has a five-point policy plan to help America’s veterans, including a vision to require members of Congress to get their health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Breitbart News has learned.
Haley’s campaign exclusively shared its policy plan with Breitbart News ahead of a busy day on the New Hampshire campaign trail on Tuesday, where it will unveil its Veterans for Nikki coalition.
“Hold the AV Accountable”
Haley’s vision for a term requiring members of Congress is to strengthen congressional oversight of the Veterans Health Administration and urge Congress to optimize it for the nation’s veterans.
Currently, the United States Office of Personnel Management Remarks that the House and Senate offices offer group health insurance plans to members and staff through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
Members of Congress and their employees were eligible for federal employee health benefits until 2014, when an amendment to the Affordable Care Act established a requirement that members obtain coverage through employer-sponsored insurance or the exchange.
“Improving access to health care”
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former US ambassador to the United Nations, also aims to “improve access to health care” for veterans, including allowing them to choose the hospital and the doctor they see and tackling wait times.
Last year, a JAMA study found that veterans waited an average of 29 days for primary care appointments at VHA medical centers, the Patient Engagement Hit reported. Wait times also averaged “38.9 days for a first appointment” at community clinics.
Additionally, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation obtained documents last year that allegedly show the VA has created an additional layer of scrutiny for veterans who are already eligible for community care, potentially extending wait times. or denial of community care. This “could result in longer wait times or denial of community care,” according to the organization.
Additionally, Haley plans to increase access to telehealth, which more than 2.2 million veterans used in fiscal year 2022 as part of expanded access during the pandemic. Haley would make expanded access permanent if elected.
“Tackling Mental Health Care”
The third facet of his plan is to “tackling mental health care”. The Wounded Warrior Project notes that one in three veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thirty percent of veterans also have suicidal thoughts, according to a 2019 WWP survey reported by the military times.
Haley plans to ask health care providers to screen for mental health the same way physical health symptoms are screened for while giving them the freedom to choose their own providers. It also plans to expedite drug treatment, which lawyers testified takes months in some cases to access, such as the military times reported in April.
“Supporting veterans from start to finish”
Another aspect of Haley’s vision is to help veterans transition into civilian life “long after they leave the military.” This includes making veterans’ benefits, such as tax credits, “available to spouses of veterans” and giving them options for using GI bill funds beyond education.
“Make our veterans proud of their service”
Finally, Haley seeks to make “veterans proud of their service” by eradicating “revival” and eliminating the military’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. It would also continue to invest in the army, “so it is the strongest in the world”.
Haley has several immediate family members who served. Her husband, Michael Haley, is a member of the South Carolina National Guard and a full-time federal military technician. In 2013, he deployed a combat zone to Afghanistan while she was the Palmetto state executive.
Mitti Randhawa, Haley’s brother, is also a veteran, having served as an army major with a deployment to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
As governor, she signed legislation reducing taxes for veteran retirees, as the Associated Press noted at the time. Additionally, Haley signed an order establishing a Veterans Policy Advisory Committee to understand veterans’ needs and improve policy.