Dr. Bob Lorinser was a social worker at a VA hospital in the '80s. He provided medical care for numerous U.P. Veterans. For nearly 10 years, he served alongside military personnel in hot-spots in North Africa and the Middle East - in Islamabad, Peshawar, Baghdad, Kabul, and more. Corporate for-profit healthcare lobbyists will never influence Dr. Bob's Veterans policy.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Veterans' Affairs committee recently passed a measure to invest $18 billion to fix or replace dated VA medical facilities and boost staffing at the Veterans Affairs Department. Dr. Bob's opponent, Jack Bergman, voted "No."
The average age of private-sector hospitals in the U.S. today is about 11 years. The average age of VA hospitals is roughly 58 years. This initial $18 billion would be spread over a variety of modernization and new construction projects to provide better facilities for VA medical care.
$18 billion in infrastructure spending would merely be a fractional down payment on the work needed to expand veterans' health care access, estimated at over $50 billion.
Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and nearly all veterans groups support the recent investment to upgrade and build facilities, but the 1st District Representative does not. Why?
Dr. Bob's opponent is a known supporter of several initiatives to privatize veteran's healthcare. In contrast, Dr. Bob believes until we can accomplish bipartisan agreement on universal healthcare, veterans should have the option of private care if they desire, but he opposes the privatization of VA hospitals. It's a bad idea. Bergman has long lauded outsourcing VA services to private healthcare facilities, a divestment which would exacerbate problems faced by Veterans when seeking medical care.
This strategy is heavily influenced by for-profit healthcare lobbyists, and will send veterans out into a private system that is more expensive, less accountable, and unable to meet their particular needs.
Dr. Bob supports veterans and this critical infrastructure spending because he understands the issue as a former VA social worker, healthcare provider, and someone experienced in the medical needs of U.S. servicemembers. Early in his career, Lorinser was a social worker at a VA clinic. As a family physician, many of his patients were Upper Peninsula veterans. While serving in the State Department for nearly a decade in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Africa and Korea, Dr. Bob oversaw the care of deployed American military personnel at U.S. embassies and consulates.
Our current Representative and his colleagues referred to the funding as an "unnecessary distraction" and mocked the bill's supporters, claiming they took a premature "ready, fire, aim" approach. Unlike Bergman, Dr. Bob realizes the investment is long overdue and vital.
"We have been ready for a long time," said Dr. Lorinser during a recent speech on the campaign trail. "Our aim is dead-on, Our veterans have been ready for upgrades and they need us to act now. We should have fired years ago."
Corporate for-profit healthcare lobbyists will never influence Dr. Bob's Veterans policy. His commitment to honor and serve Veterans is eternal and it starts with caring, listening, and enacting on better policy. Lorinser shares Veterans' disappointment in Bergman's opposition to this essential investment in our VA Department .