Benishek plans veteran listening tour

WASHINGTON – Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced that during August he will be visiting with veterans, veterans’ groups and veteran health facilities throughout Michigan’s First District. In addition, he will be leading a field hearing of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health in Traverse City on Aug. 27.

“As a former VA surgeon, I have seen firsthand the heroism and bravery that defines our service members. I have also seen the mismanagement and bureaucracy that our veterans deal with on a daily basis at the VA. One of my top priorities in Washington has been to ensure our veterans receive the care they need and deserve. By listening to and learning from veterans across our district, I have gained a greater understanding of the needs of veterans in Northern Michigan. Working towards solutions to make access to care easier and affordable for veterans in Northern Michigan is something I will continue to work on moving forward,” said Dr. Benishek, a surgeon who worked at the Oscar G Memorial VA Hospital in Iron Mountain for 20 years.

To cap off the veterans listening tour, Dr. Benishek will be chairing a field hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health in Traverse City. The hearing will be held at VFW Post 2780 at 10 a.m. on Aug. 27. Focusing on access to health care for rural and Native American veterans, the hearing will give veterans in Northern Michigan the opportunity to hear directly from VA senior leadership on the issues that matter to them.

“Our veterans fought for us abroad and now they are fighting to get the care they need at home and that is unacceptable. All issues veterans face up here in Northern Michigan are important and it has been my mission to work towards helping those who fought for our freedom. I am looking forward to being able to hold this hearing so that we can further understand the unique issues facing Native American and rural veterans,” added Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek recently worked with his colleagues in the House and Senate on the Conference Committee that compromised on legislation to provide immediate care to veterans who need it the most. The bill tackles both short and long-term problems at the VA. Any veteran who has waited longer than 30 days to see a doctor or who lives more than 40 miles from a facility will be able to seek care from a private sector health care provider.

The reform will also initiate a private sector assessment of the VA to determine changes that need to be made to create a more efficient system.

Dr. Benishek kicked off his tour at a veterans lunch in Marquette on Aug. 4 where he met with veterans and discussed how the new VA reform bill will be affecting those in Northern Michigan.