Veterans

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.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many Veterans are living in rural areas have limited access to medical care and providers. In the 25,000 square miles of the First District, there is only one V.A. Medical Center, located in Iron Mountain.


There are approximately 62,000 veterans of all ages and ranks who 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 should be recognized 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. There are more than 18 million veterans in the United States, and today's veteran population has needs that the V.A. has never before been addressed.


This is reflected in the growing interest in "anywhere, anytime" health care 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 your 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 Veterans 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 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 the privatization of healthcare facilities, including V.A. hospitals, but support veterans receiving their medical care through private medical resources as desired.

Support improving V.A. Management and Accountability


It's believed the V.A. management is operating under outdated 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. I support expanding mental health treatment options for veterans to seek innovative therapies to combat PTSD, treatment, and prevention of substance abuse disorders, address homelessness and other mental health issues.


Other issues:

  • Improve support to veterans addressing disability claims and those in need of legal and family support

  • Prevent military sexual assault and harassment; helping to provide treatment to those harmed and holding accountable those who are 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.

 

Dr. Bob's opponent turns back on promise to Veterans, votes 'No' on V.A. improvements


Dr. Bob Lorinser 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.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Veterans' Affairs committee recently passed a measure to invest $18 billion to fix or replace dated V.A. 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 V.A. 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 V.A. 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. Still, he opposes the privatization of V.A. hospitals. It's a bad idea. 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.


Dr. 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. Early in his career, Lorinser was a social worker at a V.A. 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 V.A. Department.