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Post: Unseen battles: The harsh realities of veterans’ access to health care

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Unseen battles: The harsh realities of veterans’ access to health care
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Abbie Parr/AP remember the day I left the military after six years of active-duty service. The crisp salute, the finality of it all. I was stepping into a world vastly different from the regimented life I had known. As a third-generation veteran, the military was more than a career; it was a legacy. But what I didn’t realize then was that leaving the military would mean entering a labyrinth of health care bureaucracy that seemed designed to confound and discourage.

The statistics are stark and sobering. As a veteran, I am part of a community where the suicide rate is 72% higher than that of non-veteran U.S. adults. This is not just a number; it’s a clarion call for change. My journey, my struggles, and my observations have led me to a simple yet profound conclusion: The health care system and government must make it easy for veterans to access care, easy to navigate the system, and easy to receive treatment.

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It shouldn’t be easier to enlist in the military than it is to get good health care. And it shouldn’t be easier to go to war than to come home from it.

Enlisting in the Navy consisted of stopping by a Navy recruitment office on a walk home from school during my senior year. After a few signatures and a quick medical exam, for which transportation was provided, I had committed the next five years of my life to the United States Navy. The contrast couldn’t be more jarring when compared […]

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