Supporting Our Veterans
Dr. Kelli Ward believes our country’s veterans deserve the very best healthcare America has to offer.
Kelli’s husband, Michael, served prestigiously as a Colonel in the Arizona Air National Guard for 33 years, eventually retiring as the State Air Surgeon for Arizona. During his service to our nation, Michael voluntarily deployed to both Iraq and Turkey in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a military wife, Kelli felt firsthand the worry and concern for a military member who was deployed overseas and in harm’s way.
Sadly, after surviving the dangers of the battlefield, many of our veterans return home to a country that does not fully appreciate the magnitude of their service. Worse, the healthcare they receive upon their return too often fails to live up to the standard that they were promised.
The Veterans Administration, the nation’s largest integrated health system, is a single-payer health system, owned, run, and financed by the federal government. Reforming the VA is the first step to ensuring our veterans receive the proper level of care they need.
The VA is responsible for providing healthcare to wounded warriors directly through its own government-run network of hospitals, clinics and doctors. Unfortunately, while many VA nurses and doctors are working admirably to care for our veterans, the never-ending backlog in processing claims has caused many veterans to lose confidence in the VA.
It’s important to remember that many veterans have special healthcare needs that are often better served by local medical facilities and doctors In their communities, many of which have no VA facility. One solution to this problem is offering America’s veterans a choice to seek timely healthcare from the vast private healthcare sector in America if the veteran determines that the VA is taking too long to provide essential healthcare. The full and complete interests of veterans will be best served by a system of choice and market competition.
Kelli believes that empowering any veteran, who felt the VA was making him or her wait too long for covered care, the ability to take his Veterans ID card to a private doctor or facility to get the care he or she required, without waiting for permission from a bureaucrat. The VA would then cover the cost of the doctor’s bill for the healthcare provided. This freedom of choice would immediately create competition for the VA in providing healthcare to eligible veterans.
Additionally, the VA must continue to eliminate the red tape and extra layers of bureaucracy that has led to many years of mismanagement at the agency.
Secretary David Shulkin, President Trump’s pick to lead the VA, has helped implement a VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, created a website to track and publish wait times at every VA hospital, drastically increased mental health services across the system, and developed a way to electronically transfer veterans’ medical records from the Department of Defense to the VA to simplify their transition from service to civilian life. These are huge improvements – but more work still needs to be done.
Kelli is committed to ensuring that veterans have more choice, better healthcare and shorter wait times. As senator, she will be at the forefront of the fight to improve healthcare for every American veteran. We must deliver on the promises that we've made to our veterans