A veteran’s advocacy group wants the Biden administration to completely withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and to continue to allow veterans to have access to private health care.
The Concerned Veterans for America expressed concern in a statement Tuesday that newly confirmed Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has yet to commit to preserving standards allowing veterans to use their health benefits for private care.
“It is critical we preserve the law and continue pursuing methods that empower veterans with options instead of robbing them of the choice,” CVA executive director Nate Anderson said in the statement.
“We call on the Secretary to provide assurances community care access standards will not be walked back, and veterans will retain the freedom to choose the care that meets their unique needs.”
— Concerned Veterans for America (@ConcernedVets) February 8, 2021
The group previously asked the Biden transition team to “end our endless wars” and completely withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, senior adviser Dan Caldwell told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The organization expressed concerns about potential changes to access standards provided by the VA Mission Act signed into law during the Trump administration that gives veterans access to private health care.
“These policies should be a no-brainer for the Biden administration,” Caldwell told the DCNF. “We won’t hesitate to hold them accountable if we feel they’re implementing policies that are bad for veterans.”
McDonough formerly served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff when the VA was riddled with scandal in 2014, according to Caldwell.
“We hope that he learned lessons from that experience and that they won’t roll back choice, and that they’ll continue to implement the VA Mission Act,” Caldwell said.
“We were very critical of the VA under the Obama administration and we think that criticism was warranted. Since then, the VA has come a long way.
“It has made many improvements as an institution since those dark days where you had hundreds of veterans dying while on waitlists across the country.”
Former President Donald Trump reduced the number of troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 last year.
Two-thirds of veterans said that they support a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, according to a poll by the CVA. Nearly 70% of veterans polled said they support a full withdrawal from Iraq.
The organization is closely watching the Biden administration for developing legislation that could impact veterans, and wants to foster a collaborative relationship with the current administration.
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