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Veterans Mad That Trump’s VA Privatization Isn’t Working

Veterans want more socialized medicine, and they are mad that they aren’t getting it. Veterans gathered at a meeting in Sioux Falls last night to complain that one of Donald Trump’s dumb ideas, the Community Care program, isn’t getting them the free, government-paid access to private healthcare providers outside the Veterans Administration health care system that they expect. Senator M. Michael Rounds, an alleged stupid jerk who hates Trump, was at the meeting and reminded folks he opposed the program in the first place:

In the hot seat was Lisa Simoneau, the director of the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System who oversees the Community Care program. U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds sat near her, listening to the complaints and promising his office would do something to help.

…Rounds voted against the Mission Act and has been critical of it, saying he worried some of the bureaucracy was limiting veterans from getting care from a local healthcare provider [Annie Todd, “Sioux Falls Veterans Say VA Program Isn’t Getting Them the Critical Care They Need,” Sioux Fall Argus Leader, 2022.02.08].

A fair number of the complaints raised at last night’s meeting—trouble getting appointments, trouble getting someone at Community Care to even answer their calls—would be resolved if we had local and state leaders who took coronavirus seriously, vigorously pushed the vaccines, masks, and other preventative measures, and beat back the pandemic so folks could com back to work at the call centers and hospitals could clear their ICUs of all these preventable illnesses. The rest of the complaints could be resolved by Senator Mike Rounds reaffirming the value of real socialized medicine for veterans. When properly staffed and funded, the Veterans Health Administration has provided the best care anywhere. Let’s fully reverse Trump’s effort to sabotage the VA and get back to directly providing veterans the free socialized healthcare they deserve.


  1. SuperSweet 2022-02-09

    I get my healthcare through this system. Veterans who live some distance from a VA hospital can get care in the community from another provider. I go about 20 miles for all health services and that works great, rather than driving 75 miles to a VA hospital. Yes, I know, 75 miles in SD is nothing.

    The problem is getting authorization for services. The VA is so slow to respond. One time I sat on hold for 5 hours before a nice lady answered and took care of everything. One VA employee told me they have went from 400 people to 60 to answer calls.

    Glad to see Senator Rounds getting involved. I have written my congressman twice and called once and never got a response..

  2. larry kurtz 2022-02-09

    Unvaccinated Republicans are clogging the VA system in every state including here in New Mexico. Recall that in past years the Trump Organization used the federal courts to punish tribal nations who built casinos Herr Trump said were competition so he slow-walked resources to reservations effectively deploying COVID-19 as a biological weapon in Native America.

  3. John 2022-02-09

    Trump began a pilot program privatizing Medicare — and Biden’s continuing that pilot. It needs to end.

  4. cibvet 2022-02-09

    I and my father use the VA system and really have no complaints except trying speak to a human. This is not only a problem at the VA, but rather nation wide of getting appts and getting referrals. Unless a person goes to an emergency room, it is almost impossible to get an appt or referral in less than 6 weeks. The medical system was overloaded and now with the unvaccinated trumpies, it is nearly broken.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-02-09

    My guess? Fischer, Rounds is hemorrhaging cash right now while South Dakota’s medical industry triopoly is reaping the whirlwind. Expect bailouts to keep Mike Rounds solvent.

  6. jerry 2022-02-09

    EB5 Rounds will do veterans no favors and neither will Thune or Dirty. Always remember that they are republicans who love soldiers, but hate vets. The only way to get the service required for vets is to put Democrats and Independents in the Senate and House with a Democratic president. If that cannot be, then this will always be the result.

  7. Richard Schriever 2022-02-09

    cibvet – I have no problems getting either appointments or referrals via Medicare. Just sayin’. I have had to put off one procedure for a year, due to there only being one doctor in SF who performs it.

  8. Jerome Bortnem 2022-02-09

    I’m a veteran receiving healthcare through VA Healthcare System in Sioux Falls. I have nothing but praise with the healthcare they provide, it’s second to none in my opinion. I’ve always been treated professionally and compassionately by all the doctors, nurses and staff.
    Of course nothing is perfect, that have been long waits on the telephone with the Community Care since they are understaffed I suspect. Although, is one leaves a voice message they always return calls. Also, I utilize the gov website quite often, the secure messaging function is possibly the best way to communicate with VA care providers. I believe that veterans need to educate themselves on communications tools available to them at the VA, the outcome would be a more positive experience with their VA healthcare.
    The veterans complaining about VA Healthcare issue also need to be aware that, in opinion, Trump, his adminstration, their croonies, and many of the Republicans want to tear down the VA Healthcare system by privitizing it to stuff their pockets. As I recall, during the Trump adminstration there was a VA hiring freeze which may still exist, not sure. That contributed to VA personnel shortages which I know still exists. There a many veterans that I believe have ‘Stockholm Syndrone’, they vote against their own interests, they need to wake up or they’ll be complaining about no VA Healthcare. I know Trump, the Trump Party (formerly GOP) and most of the Republican congress could care less for Veterans and Veteran’s Healthcare, even though they say they do, but their actions prove otherwise.

  9. All Mammal 2022-02-09

    I hope everything you just said, Mr. Bortnem, goes straight to the top. Thank you.

  10. jerry 2022-02-09

    Well said Mr. Bortnem. I use the Black Hills Health and have never ever been disappointed since the early 80’s until just a few days ago. I have always had good doctors that know what they are doing for the procedures that have kept me around this place.

    I had used the VA in Denver and was not a fan. The use of the website is good advise. Thanks for doing us all a great service. Of course, EB5 Rounds could have done the same at that meeting, but he is not interested in helping vets, any more than helping ranchers with getting COOL on the books.

  11. grudznick 2022-02-09

    Mr. Bortnem, you seem a swell fellow. I’d hate to see you unfulfilled.

  12. cibvet 2022-02-10

    Richard Schriever—–I wrote “Unless a person goes to an emergency room, it is almost impossible to get an appt or referral in less than 6 weeks”.
    Great for you if you get in immediately. I merely stated my experience with the VA and private practice. Plan ahead is what I do and I find the VA care exceptional.

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-02-10

    If a veteran is mad couldn’t they be put in Yankton? Sorry, it’s an insane question.

  14. jerry 2022-02-10

    More of an inane question.

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