President Obama cited “more care” for U.S. veterans as an example of progress made under his administration during the State of the Union address, a curious statement in the wake of the Veterans Affairs scandal of delayed care and secret waiting lists at numerous facilities that came to light in 2014.
The deaths of American veterans waiting for healthcare disgusted the country and led to the resignation of VA secretary Eric Shinseki. However, Obama touted veteran care Tuesday night.
“In fact, it’s in that spirit that we have made progress these past seven years,” Obama said. “That’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. That’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector. That’s how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops coming home and our veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.
“But such progress is not inevitable. It is the result of choices we make together. And we face such choices right now. Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton downplayed problems at the VA on the campaign trail last fall, but soon after reports exposed shortfalls across the nation.