Good Start, Mr. President

Yesterday, I happened to catch a David Webb interview of Veterans Administration Secretary Robert Wilkie satellite radio’s Patriot Channel. Secretary Wilkie gave advance notice of an upcoming Trump Administration executive order intended to lower the Veteran suicide rate.


Later that day and to very little media notice and fanfare, President Trump signed an Executive Order designed to help reduce the number of Veteran suicides, now numbered at 20 per day. That’s right each day, 20 U.S Veterans, folks who have willingly done what their country asked of them, are in so much pain, both physical and/or emotional, they believe ending their lives is the only way out—and they do just that.

From the Washington Examiner,

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at halting the spike in suicide rates among U.S. veterans.

The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide order, or PREVENTS, establishes a task force under the direction of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to establish a comprehensive nationwide plan to address gaps in mental health access for veterans, including strengthening collaboration between local and state officials with the federal government.

The order encourages public-private partnerships to make mental healthcare more readily accessible, incentivizes mental health research, and revamps existing suicide prevention resources offered by the VA.


Also according to the Examiner,

The move comes on the heels of another executive order last month investing in additional counseling and mental healthcare services for veterans.

Both of these initiatives by the President are worthy of praise, but they are only a start. President Trump’s heart is definitely in the right place. He obviously cares about the troops, both present and past, especially as compared to “corpse-man” Obama and “Benghazi” Clinton. But as I noted previously here, the Veterans Administration is poorly suited for delivery of health care to our Nation’s Warriors.

We need to move smartly and efficiently towards a total yet simple revamp of how we deliver needed care to our Americans, wounded in body and/or in spirit. The VA, through the Warriors In Transition Units, has a fine working relationship with the Active Military to identify and determine Service Connected Disabilities. The VA should retain this responsibility and also for those already off of Active Duty.

However, President Trump can’t and shouldn’t try to fix the entire problem with Executive Orders. He should immediately begin discussions with Congress. We need legislation to move responsibility for treatment from the Veterans Administration, to TRICARE, an agency far better suited to manage care-not only faster, but also in a more cost effective manner.


For more detail on how this might work, see this article. After reading, please come back here and comment. This important folks. What we’re doing now, costs way too much…and it ain’t getting the job done. We need to fix it—now.

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor1039458

You can find his other Red State work here.


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