VFP’s Save Our VA (SOVA) National Campaign seeks justice for veterans and advocates for strengthening the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for all veterans. The SOVA National Campaign consists of more than a thousand individual veteran and non-veteran supporters contacting their Members of Congress on VA health care issues. SOVA works in collaboration with our allies in the VA unions: the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and National Nurses United (NNU) and National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). We also partner with the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute. SOVA’s activities include:
- political analysis;
- alerting our network of veterans and other activists to contact members of congress in response to legislation/policies impacting the VHA;
- building relationships with key staff of Members of Congress to increase our influence;
- encouraging people to write letters to the editor, Op-ed articles on issues affecting veterans’ health care;
- conducting educational meetings including Zoom meetings/presentations.
Save Our VA seeks justice for veterans by fighting to stop the outsourcing of VHA health care, which is critical to all veterans, their families, and to the larger population. Veterans are a unique population with healthcare needs that require specialized care. Recognizing this, Congress gave the VHA four key missions:
- delivering holistic medical, psychological, and social care,
- teaching future health professionals throughout the nation,
- conducting cutting edge research, and
- backing up the civilian sector in local or national emergencies.
Conservative political leaders, Big PHARMA and the healthcare industry have attacked the VHA by lobbying to outsource veteran care and by assuring that the VHA is underfunded and understaffed. Their campaign created a bi-partisan consensus in Congress that produced The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (CHOICE Act) and The VA MISSION Act of 2018 (MISSION Act) – that have negatively impacted the VHA.
Under the guise of providing “greater healthcare access to rural veterans”, these legislative acts expanded veterans’ eligibility for “referrals” to private-sector and urgent care doctors. Most funding going to the private sector for non-VHA healthcare under the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP)comes out of the VHA’s already insufficient budget and undermines the VHA’s capacity to serve the nine million veterans who depend on it. The percent of VCCP spending for 2024 increased 16.8% while VHA care increased just 4.8%. This push to private sector care continues even though numerous studies have shown that VHA healthcare is as good and often superior to private-sector healthcare and is not cognizant of the special needs of veterans.