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Veterans health care solutions left out of first primary debate

By Concerned Veterans for America

For veterans hoping to hear about the Republican presidential candidates’ ideas for improving veterans’ health care, the first primary debate was a letdown. 

CVA staff on the ground in Milwaukee and around the country hoped to hear anything about these candidates’ plans to improve veterans’ health care.  

Through our #VeteransVoicesCount campaign on Twitter, we tried to build momentum for the candidates to address staggering wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs, shocking veteran suicide numbers, and continuing lack of access to community care for veterans using their VA health care benefits. 

Unfortunately, nobody on stage at this debate had anything helpful to say about veterans or the issues that matter most to them, just lip service to win veterans’ approval. 

When I arrived in Milwaukee for the GOP debate, I was hoping to hear real solutions for the rising suicide rate among our veterans and the general lack of health care options,” Army veteran Brian Fay said. “Instead, all I got was rhetoric, shouting matches and questions about UFO’s! The only thing unidentifiable I saw was their plan to do better by our veterans.” 

Army veteran Brian Fay prepares for the debate to start in Milwaukee

Here’s a recap of CVA’s debate coverage and what veterans thought about the lack of health care solutions from the candidates. 

CVA Deputy Director John Byrnes had some blunt feedback about the candidates handling of veterans and their issues

Air Force veteran Ian Robinson watched the debate from South Carolina, where he was hoping to hear about how the candidates would address continuing failure at the VA.

Army veteran Jimmie Smith shared a disconcerting fact about candidates talking about community care access for veterans.

Marine Corps veteran Tim Taylor with a sad but true catch.


Veterans’ issues are America’s issues. We have a responsibility to ensure veterans voices are heard and their issues are taken seriously, including giving them better access to health care options. 

Throughout the primaries and into the general election, we will continue to call for better health care access for veterans. They deserve nothing less. 


Read more about what we want to hear about veterans health care from presidential candidates.