Obama’s final address to veterans meets rebuke from some vet groups
WASHINGTON — In what he called “my final address to our nation’s veterans as president,” Barack Obama declared Monday that the nation had a “sacred covenant” with its veterans to ensure they receive the health care, support and benefits they need and to fix broken services
Obama paid tribute to the nation’s wounded warriors and its Gold Star families during the speech at the Disabled American Veterans annual convention in Atlanta. He recapped achievements during his eight years in office – from reducing homelessness by nearly 50 percent to increasing health care for millions of veterans.
But he also spoke plainly about scandals that have wracked the Department of Veterans Affairs during his two terms – in particular the data manipulation to hide long wait lists for doctor appointments, benefits claims that were destroyed or left to languish in bins by overwhelmed staff and retaliation against whistleblowers.
Obama said that neither he nor VA Secretary Bob McDonald were satisfied with the efforts to fix the problems and vowed that transforming the VA and holding people accountable would continue.
“Long wait times, veterans denied care, people manipulating the books – inexcusable,” Obama said to loud applause at the annual convention.
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