KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Vows Better Health Care, Other Initiatives, For Vets, Military

Addressing the American Legion’s national convention, the president announced steps to expand access to mental health care and an initiative to lower home loan costs for military families. He also promised a new "culture of accountability' at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The New York Times: Obama Tells Veterans He Will Fix Health System, As New Report Lists Lapses
President Obama on Tuesday promised several thousand military veterans that he would fulfill his “sacred trust” to those returning from America’s wars by overhauling a dysfunctional health care system, even as a new report documented “unacceptable and troubling lapses” in medical treatment (Baker and Philipps, 8/26).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Tells American Legion He's Working To Regain Veterans' Trust
The list included seemingly straightforward changes, such as making it easier for veterans to earn commercial driver's licenses, and new funding for complex research. The Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health have launched a study on early detection of suicide risk, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain disorder, while the VA will invest $34.4 million in a national clinical trial on suicide prevention involving 1,800 veterans at 29 hospitals, the White House said (Hennessey, 8/26).

The Washington Post: Obama Pledges Better Mental Health Services, Other Initiatives For Military, Vets
Heralding a new "culture of accountability" at the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Obama Tuesday announced a number of executive actions to help active-duty military members, their families and veterans, ranging from strengthening access to mental health care to making it easier for troops to reduce mortgage payments. Speaking at the American Legion’s annual convention in the wake of a scandal involving falsified records and long wait times at VA facilities, Obama reaffirmed his support for America's veterans and said his administration will do all it can to ensure current and former members of the military receive the full benefits they deserve (Zezima, 8/26).

Reuters: Obama Tells Veterans Better Mental Health Care On The Way
President Barack Obama sought to make amends with veterans on Tuesday, announcing steps to expand their access to mental health care and an initiative with financial companies to lower home loan costs for military families. The president was embarrassed earlier this year when it was revealed that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had been covering up lengthy delays in providing health care to former military personnel (8/26).

The Associated Press: Obama Defends Handling Of Veterans Affairs Issues
His standing with veterans damaged by scandal, President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his administration’s response to Veterans Affairs lapses that delayed health care for thousands of former service members, but conceded more needed to be done to regain their trust. His appearance also had deep political overtones in a state where the Democratic senator, Kay Hagan, is facing a difficult re-election and has sought to distance herself from Obama’s policies, declaring as recently as Friday that his administration had not “done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans” (8/26).

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