June 7, 2014 at 1:00 am


Veterans deserve better

A bill in the U.S. Senate includes several new provisions aimed at fixing the long delays for veterans’ care.

It would allow veterans to seek treatment at private doctors’ offices, military bases or community health centers if VA hospital waits are too long. The bill also authorizes emergency funding to hire new doctors and nurses and would provide scholarships or forgive college loans for doctors and nurses who go to work at the VA.

Congress is responding to the public outrage about the VA scandal. One particularly troubled facility is the Phoenix VA Hospital, where about 1,700 veterans were placed on extended waiting lists, some reportedly dying before receiving medical help.

The uproar has prompted indignant Congressional calls to find out what’s happening in the VA. But veterans shouldn’t have to wait for bureaucratic investigations to be completed to get help. The bill is a good start and Congress should continue to act to solve the VA’s health care delivery shortcomings.

A better life for seniors

Gov. Rick Snyder has announced several new and expanded programs for senior citizens, aimed at boosting their general health and well-being.

He emphasizes a commitment to community and home-based services, such as Meals on Wheels, to support older adults’ independence and choices. The governor also wants employers to embrace policies and programs that help family caregivers balance their responsibilities at home and at work.

It’s good to see the governor take a positive response to the state’s aging population. There are nearly 2 million residents 60 and older, a 20-percent increase over the past 10 years.

Optimizing personal independence and health are always commendable goals. But the added benefit of keeping seniors in their homes is that it will save money for them and, if the individuals are on Medicaid, the state.

Caring for aging adults at home is much less expensive than moving them into nursing facilities, where the cost per month is in the thousands of dollars.

Finally, progress on the bridge

Despite bureaucratic funding delays in Washington and local pushback, the new publicly owned bridge from Detroit to Canada is moving forward.

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a required permit for construction of the New International Trade Crossing.

While enjoying widespread business and public support in both Michigan and Canada, including bi-partisan leadership from Gov. Rick Snyder, Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun has created delays. He claims the public bridge will take business away from his 85-year-old structure, yet he has applied to build another span next to it.

The public bridge also has run into delays because the Obama administration has failed to budget $250 million for a Detroit customs plaza.

Years of study and discussions have concluded that the new public bridge is needed and will benefit Michigan and the nation. It’s a shame stalling tactics have delayed its construction, but at least there is progress being made.