Just recently VA Secretary Dr. David “Sulking” came out and spoke on how there would be improvements in veterans’ healthcare. His focus was on seamless electronic medical records (EMRs), and of course the obvious question is why didn’t this happen while he was the Director of the Veterans Health department of the VA in the Obama administration? I’m tired of press briefings and rhetoric emanating from Washington DC. The following story once again provides anecdotal evidence that our Nation is broken when it comes to veterans’ healthcare.
As reported by Fox News, “Matthew Wojciechowski, a fit and healthy retired U.S. Navy SEAL, was working as a contractor for the CIA’s Global Response Staff in a Middle East outpost. Suddenly on Dec. 21, 2011, he was struck with crippling chest pain and was soon shaking violently. “I felt like I was going to die, and as an American citizen, I was trying to get some help,” he told Fox News. “But was told because I was a contractor I was under a different set of rules for care.”
So instead of being examined by a U.S. medical professional at the consulate, Wojciechowski said he was shocked that he was sent to a local hospital – and seen by a doctor who did not speak English – who misdiagnosed him simply as having heartburn. As his condition worsened, Wojciechowski was finally sent home via a commercial flight, with no medical oversight.
Some two weeks later, on Jan. 6, he was barely able to walk. In excruciating pain, he was soon rushed into open-heart surgery and diagnosed with chronic, recurrent pericarditis. The serious heart condition, in which the tissue surrounding the heart becomes inflamed, typically develops from a viral or respiratory infection, but its initial cause is often hard to determine.
By law of the Defense Base Act (DBA), Wojciechowski assumed his health was covered, but receiving any help or compensation remains an ongoing nightmare with endless bills going to debt collections and life-saving prescriptions not paid for. “My credit is so ruined I can’t even qualify for a Veteran’s Affairs (VA) loan,” he said, highlighting that he is continuing to fight his case with legal assistance.
The DBA, a World War II era legislation, mandates that the U.S government and its overseas contractors must be provided with life insurance and workers compensation insurance. Yet Wojciechowski claims that his provider, the Continental Insurance of Chicago (CNA), is not paying up under the guise he contracted an illness abroad, and thus cannot be directly attributed to his line of work. This week, his girlfriend Kristin Camacho set up a GoFundMe in the hopes of covering some of his medical bills. “He has lost everything. We sold everything and we are still struggling to make ends meet,” she said. The U.S. State Department, as well as CNA, did not respond to a request for comment.”
I received Wojo’s six-page story from a friend in the Special Operators community asking me for help. It’s matters such as this that I receive that truly inspire me to return to a position where I can have an immediate impact. For right now I must make y’all aware of the horrific treatment being levied against our veterans, and a US Navy SEAL, one of our most treasured modern-day Spartan warriors.
Who’d want to serve, realizing this is the type of treatment they may receive? I can assure you that the jihadi jackasses in GITMO have received better medical treatment than Wojo, and that is utterly appalling. I want to know who at our State Department or in the CIA made the decision not to ensure Matthew Wojciechowski received the best possible healthcare and attention to resolve his chronic illness. Right now we should be demanding all of Matt’s medical expenses be covered so he can restore his financial solvency. And to think, there are some willing to spend $30,000 for gender reassignment surgeries for individuals suffering from the mental condition called gender dysphoria, yet Wojo is suffering, struggling not just to stay alive, but to live a decent life. This is a stain on our nation. We have elected officials who can’t figure out this healthcare policy issue, but they don’t have to endure this mess. I wonder if Jimmy Kimmel will present this case to his audience and shed tears?
How have we devolved to such a pathetic state of existence that anyone believes this is acceptable? Maybe those who prefer government-run, socialized healthcare are fine with this as an acceptable consequence. Matt, as a veteran, should have the choice of going to any quality healthcare facility to ensure he has the best possible care, and I know the American taxpayer has no issue ensuring it’s provided. If there’s a person who truly deserves “free” healthcare, it’s the real one-percenter, those such as Wojo who’ve taken an oath to stand upon freedom’s rampart guarding our Republic. Matt is one of those fellas whom George Orwell referred to as “rough men” who stand ready to do violence on our behalf in order for us to sleep peaceably at night.
So how can it be that those like Matt, willing to give the last full measure to protect our liberties, find themselves abandoned by the very people, the nation, they swore to serve, sacrifice for, and safeguard? This, I submit, is just another example of what happened in Benghazi where the Obama administration abandoned elite former US Special Operators, then CIA contractors, to die — and two did, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty, both US Navy SEALS…and then Obama, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton lied about it all. No consequences for those three, but the consequences of their abandonment is ever before us, and sadly results in families losing their loved ones. Or in the case of Matthew Wojciechowski, a life ruined due to financial hardship resulting from a healthcare condition, a heart ailment, that could be related to his service to our nation.
I will follow this story and see what happens for Matt. Let’s see if VA Secretary Shulkin does anything, or CIA Director Pompeo. Let’s see if President Trump tweets about this or if Secretary of State Tillerson corrects this situation. Will Matt’s Member of Congress or Senator demand financial restitution and updating of the Defense Base Act, or will they just take another recess? This is FUBAR and we should all be screaming about it…and feel free to read Matt’s six-page letter linked here….what, you don’t have the time? Damn glad he didn’t feel that way when it came to serving our nation.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]