Local veterans voicing opinions against privatization of VA - Tucson News Now

Local veterans voicing opinions against privatization of VA

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's becoming a growing concern for veterans over the last several years, whether or not their healthcare is headed for the private sector.

"We can't just be shipped out, there isn't a comparable thing to ship us to," said Bob Phillips, a Vietnam veteran with a strong opinion against privatizing his healthcare.

Paul Sheritt, who relies heavily on the VA in Tucson explained, "If they closed this VA, I'd die."

It's a possible matter of life and death for veterans like Sheritt, who says he is unable to get insurance coverage elsewhere. He has utilized the Tucson VA Center for decades.

Sheritt told Tucson News Now, "I'm very proud of the care I'm getting here. I certainly hope we can keep this open."

Advocating to keep that kind of quality care, he was among several veterans showing their concern over the privatization of their healthcare at a Save Our VA rally Thursday afternoon.

The latest exit of VA Secretary David Shulkin has brought about uncertainty for these veterans. They cited cuts to the budget and shopping out treatment for hundreds of veterans, as cause for concern.

Phillips said, "They sent me out and I realized very quickly how much of a wrap around the VA services is."

Phillips is among them. A malfunction in VA equipment had him sent out to another doctor outside the VA for a quick procedure. His appointments without his regular doctors left him facing days of anxiety.

"Not only are they familiar with me and my conditions - but veterans in general and how they hope to create a different kind of patient," said Phillips.

Despite allegations from Shulkin, the White House issued a statement on Thursday denying that they are looking to privatize healthcare for veterans. Instead, staff said they want to 'modernize' veterans' healthcare.

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