Braley supports the investment in community-based VA care. It provides closer access to care for veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will have different needs, in terms of prosthetics. Braley wants to be sure that these veterans get the replacements they need, and the different kinds of prosthetics necessary for different activities, to allow them to live their lives to the fullest. In the long run, Braley believes, this community involvement and this kind of support will be less expensive to taxpayers. More integration into the community should lead to less VA dependence.
The services the VA does provide must be “top-notch,” according to Braley. This includes mental and physical health services.
Braley was asked if the VA system should be discontinued, to allow veterans to seek care in the private sector using veterans’ insurance. He believes this idea may work in concept, but believes that having the VA system in place, after the Vietnam War, led to improvements in health care that were followed by the private sector.
According to Braley, “farming out” health care services for veterans, to private sector providers, will disallow the government to control costs and ensure quality of care for veterans. He believes the VA’s move toward community-based outpatient clinics is working and will continue to be the best route to care for veterans in the future.
Braley’s stop in Knoxville came shortly after his return from Israel. He said seeing the border between Israel and Palestine, which is quite small, really gave him a deeper sense of the security issues faced by those in the region. During his visit, Braley also met with the Prime Minister, President and Principal Negotiator for Palestine. Braley said he has a deep appreciation for Secretary of State John Kerry’s work to bring Israel and Palestine back to the negotiation table.