Jack Bergman votes against bipartisan bill that works to prevent Veteran suicide

Dr. Bob Lorinser expresses scathing disapproval of a recent vote by Rep. Jack Bergman, which went against the interest and advisement of Veterans advocacy groups.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Ensuring Veterans' Smooth Transition (EVEST Act) passed with bipartisan support from the House of Representatives. By automatically enrolling eligible servicemembers in VA healthcare during their transition out of the military, the EVEST Act will simplify the transition process and take critical steps toward preventing veteran suicide.


The EVEST Act has the support of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Veterans Health Policy Institute, and the American Psychological Association. Veterans Service Organizations and stakeholders have been trying to advance automatic enrollment in VA healthcare for years.


But, Bergman, the ranking minority member on the Veteran's Affairs Subcommittee on Health, voted "No." I looked for his rationale but couldn't find it.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that under the bill, about 58,000 additional Veterans would be automatically enrolled in 2022, and a similar number of Veterans would be enrolled in each subsequent year. CBO estimates that about 250,000 of those automatically enrolled would remain enrolled by 2026.


Accounting for a gradual increase in the use of VA healthcare by automatically enrolled Veterans, CBO estimates that those veterans would receive care that costs on average $3,900 each year.


“We know that the months following a transition out of the military can be very stressful and particularly risky for new Veterans in terms of mental health," said Chairman Takano. "One of the most glaring gaps in accessing high-quality VA healthcare is the enrollment process—with EVEST, we can eliminate that gap.”


I agree.


As for Jack Bergman —

  • Despite saying, "Veterans have sacrificed so much for the liberty of our country," and despite broken promises that he is working on their behalf, he is abandoning Veterans.

  • The duties of a Representative are to educate and explain the legislation and your vote to your constituents. He didn't.

  • He voted against the wishes of his First District and yet again chose party over his people.

Nearly all Veterans' advocacy groups were supportive of this legislation.


Join Veterans for Dr. Bob at votedrbob.com/veterans. Veterans, their families and friends, and supporters are all welcome.

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NOV. 2021
 

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


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 a 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 that 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 better policy. Lorinser shares Veterans' disappointment in Bergman's opposition to this essential investment in our VA Department.

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