Less than one percent of Americans currently serve in the military, and the other 99 percent of us owe them the secure futures they have earned.
Many Veterans living in rural areas have limited access to medical care and providers. Only one V.A. Medical Center in Iron Mountain exists across 25,000 square miles of the entire 1st District.
Approximately 62,000 veterans of all ages and ranks live in Michigan's First Congressional District. We must repay and protect our veterans and active military members for their sacrifices for our country. Our service members deserve our appreciation, and we must recognize all servicemembers for their actions to defend our freedoms and keep us safe from harm.
Less than one percent of Americans currently serve in the military, and the other 99 percent of us owe them the secure futures they have earned. More than 18 million veterans are in the United States, and today's veteran population has needs that the V.A. has never addressed before.
This issue is reflected in the growing interest in "anywhere, anytime" healthcare service models and our increasing understanding of behavioral health challenges, the harmful impacts of burn pits, environmental toxins, traumatic brain injury, and the devastating epidemic of opioid addiction and suicide. The VA must adapt to meet the ever-evolving needs of the veteran community.
As MI01's Congressman, Dr. Bob will strive to restore the V.A. as the premier agency for ensuring our veterans' overall well-being by:
Providing Veterans World Class Health Care to Meet Their Specific Needs
Driving Progress to Eliminate Veteran's Homelessness and Bring Down Suicide Rates
Creating Meaningful Employment and Educational Opportunities
Improving VA Management and Accountability
Dr. Bob will:
Promise to listen and to learn to improve services to our Veterans.
Will work faithfully to restore public trust in the V.A. so that no one in the military community or beyond will ever again question whether the United States of America keeps its promises to those who serve our country.
Support comprehensive, integrated veteran programs that address veterans' medical needs and educational, employment, and housing concerns.
Support modernization of the deteriorated infrastructure of V.A. hospitals and clinics and repurpose older facilities to meet new needs, such as assisted-living facilities and long-term care alternatives.
Stand against privatizing healthcare facilities, including V.A. hospitals, but support veterans receiving medical care through private medical resources as desired.
Support improving V.A. Management and Accountability
The V.A. management needs to be operating under updated management tools and practices. Our veterans deserve the best services available. Improve coordination with the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), state agencies, and the thousands of non-governmental organizations that support this vital community.
Support Improving Mental Health Services
Twenty veterans and service members die by suicide every day, and among some groups, the rate of suicide is rising alarmingly. The VA must continually strive to improve services and outcomes for veterans, especially in the areas of pain, polytrauma recovery, substance use disorder (SUD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and general behavioral health, in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible. Bob supports expanding mental health treatment options for veterans to seek innovative therapies to combat PTSD, treat and prevent substance abuse disorders, and address homelessness and other mental health issues.
Support veterans addressing disability claims and those needing legal and family support.
Prevent military sexual assault and harassment. We must treat those harmed and hold accountable those assaulting our service members.
Improving veteran services, accessibility, and non-discrimination for women
Dr. Bob also supports the expansion of the National Guard and Military Reserves and recognizes how fortunate we are to have Camp Grayling and multiple other National Guard Units throughout the First District.
Why is Bob so passionate about Veterans' services?
Bob was a social worker at a V.A. 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.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee passed a measure to invest $18 billion to fix or replace dated V.A. medical facilities and boost staffing at the Veterans Affairs Department. Bob's opponent, Jack Bergman, voted "No."
The average age of private-sector hospitals in the U.S. today is about 11 years, and the average age of V.A. hospitals is roughly 58. This initial $18 billion would be spread over modernization and new construction projects to provide better facilities for V.A. medical care.
$18 billion in infrastructure spending is a fractional down payment on the work needed to expand veterans' healthcare 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?
Bob's opponent is a known supporter of several initiatives to privatize Veteran healthcare. By contrast, Bob believes that until we can accomplish bipartisan agreement on universal healthcare, veterans should have the option of private care. Still, he opposes the privatization of V.A. hospitals. Bob says, "It is just a bad idea."
Rep. Jack Bergman has long lauded outsourcing V.A. services to private healthcare facilities, a divestment that would exacerbate Veterans' problems when seeking medical care.
For-profit healthcare lobbyists heavily influence this strategy. It will send veterans out into a private system that is more expensive, less accountable, and unable to meet their particular needs.
Bob supports veterans and this critical infrastructure spending because he understands the issue as a former V.A. social worker, healthcare provider, and someone experienced in the medical needs of U.S. service members. Lorinser was a social worker at a V.A. clinic early in his career. 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, starting with caring, listening, and enacting better policy.