Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health care and health system expenses, among a targeted group, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to ensure that money is available to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement.
ATLANTA — President Obama said on Monday that his administration had made strides in turning around the veterans health care system, highlighting a decline in the number of veterans facing long waits for doctor visits.
“We’ve hired thousands more doctors, nurses, staff,” Mr. Obama said at a conference of the Disabled American Veterans. “When we really put our sweat and tears and put our shoulder to the wheel, we can make things better.”
The president acknowledged that many veterans remained frustrated by the health care bureaucracy, calling continued delays in seeing doctors “inexcusable.” And he said the country needed to do more to help economically struggling veterans.
But veteran homelessness, he said, has been cut almost in half since 2010, when the administration outlined a national strategy on the issue. He vowed to continue working with states and cities toward “ending the tragedy, the travesty of veterans’ homelessness.”
By TURNER COWLES 1:55
Fallen Soldier’s Father Denounces Trump
Fallen Soldier’s Father Denounces Trump
By TURNER COWLES on Publish Date July 29, 2016. Photo by Jim Wilson/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »
“We will not stop until every veteran who fought for America has a home in America,” he said to cheers from the crowd of about 2,000.
Problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have plagued Mr. Obama’s administration for years, raising questions about his promises to make the government work more effectively. In 2014, reports that hospital administrators had manipulated waiting lists for doctor visits forced the resignation of Eric Shinseki, Mr. Obama’s first veterans affairs secretary.
Critics of the administration say Robert McDonald, the current secretary, has not held enough people accountable for the waiting list scandal or done enough to let veterans see private doctors.
“Over all, I don’t believe that President Obama has much to be proud of regarding his management of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Dan Caldwell, a vice president at the Concerned Veterans for America.
Mr. Caldwell’s organization, which is part of the political network of Charles G. and David H. Koch, supports an overhaul that would give all veterans access to private doctors. The Veterans Choice Program, which allows eligible veterans to see private doctors, does not go far enough, Mr. Caldwell said.
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“The choice card program has proved to be a faux choice,” he said. “You still have to call a V.A. bureaucrat and get approval to execute that choice.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs has become an issue in the 2016 campaign, with the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, suggesting that he would support more privatization of it. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has said she would work to improve its performance.
On Monday, Mr. Obama rejected calls to privatize the system. “Here’s one thing we cannot do: We cannot outsource and privatize health care for America’s veterans,” he said. “These radical proposals would begin to dismantle the veterans health system.”
Spotlighting other improvements in the system, the president said the backlog of veterans’ claims for benefits, which had surged to nearly 610,000 almost four years ago, was now at 80,000, a nearly 90 percent decrease. As a result, Mr. Obama said, veterans are receiving the benefits they deserve without waiting for years.
Critics have said a separate backlog for veterans who appeal the department’s initial benefits has surged, creating a new backlog that has not been addressed. Mr. Obama acknowledged the problem, and called on Congress to pass legislation overhauling the claim appeals process.
“When veterans appeal a decision, you’re put into an appeal system that right now is broken,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to fight for years to get a straight answer.”