A listening session held Thursday night in Wasilla by the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs was dominated by complaints about the healthcare system for veterans in Alaska.
Hundreds of people turned out to hear remarks by Secretary Robert McDonald, who gave an overview of the massive problems that have hampered the VA’s service in recent years.
“Obviously the Department of Veterans Affairs had a crisis,” McDonald said. “The primary reason, as I looked at this situation, was the aging of the American Veteran population.”
McDonald detailed how a lack of funding from Congress is limiting the VA’s ability to accommodate more veterans in need of care, and more necessary medical treatment as problems like post-traumatic stress and exposure to Agent Orange gain more scientific recognition.
But testimony from dozens of people who lined up to speak was overwhelmingly critical of the VA, filled with stories of personal problems and mistreatment navigating the system–some stretching back decades.