Legislation assuring automatic VA enrollment is more vital than ever before
New Post from The Hill that I did with my colleague Russell Lemle
After attempting suicide while serving on active duty in Iraq, Kristofer Goldsmith was given a general discharge by the Army and little else. The overwhelmed 21-year-old returned to his hometown on Long Island, N.Y., totally unaware that he was eligible for care from the Veterans Health Administration (VA). “I had just lost my income, my support network, my identity, and almost my life. I was in a total mental health crisis,” Goldsmith told us.
During the critical months following his transition to civilian life, he went without desperately needed services. If his mother hadn’t forced him to go to the VA, Goldsmith, who credits the VA with helping him rebuild his life, doesn’t know what would have happened to him. Of this, however, he is certain, “If I had heard from my local VA informing me of what benefits I had and that I’d been enrolled in the system, it would have changed my life drastically.”
Assuring future cohorts of veterans — including those struggling with the Taliban triumph in Afghanistan — don’t go without health care during their transition from military to civilian life is the worthy goal of a new bill introduced by Rep. Mark Takano.