Supporting Our Veterans
Our veterans and their families have made great sacrifices in service to our country. We have a responsibility to fulfill our end of the bargain after that service ends. More than 400,000 veterans live in Colorado, and they deserve the benefits and support they've earned.
Michael has worked to reform the systemic problems within the VA to ensure that health care services are delivered in a timely and efficient manner. He has also worked to increase health care access in rural areas and improve the process for building new health care facilities, such as the Regional Medical Center in Aurora.
Michael believes there's more we must do to honor and support our veterans and their families, including providing them with services they need to fully transition back into civilian life and receive the treatment and counseling they need to cope with PTSD and other combat trauma.
- In 2014, Michael supported the bipartisan VA Reform Bill that addressed the systemic problems at the Department of Veterans Administration and continues working to ensure the reforms are instituted quickly and smoothly. Michael wrote a letter to Secretary McDonald asking him to ensure veterans who must travel mountainous terrain to reach a VA facility are given waiver consideration so that they may see a local provider.
- Michael passed a bill requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study whether PTSD, TBI and other mental health issues are related to the less than honorable military discharge of some members of the military. This provision was included in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.
- Michael cosponsored a bill to name the Colorado Springs Community Based Outpatient Clinic after Colorado veteran PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom. This bill passed the Senate on December 3, 2014.
- After the VA released a report finding that nearly 1000 Colorado veterans committed suicide in a five-year period, Michael convened a group of veterans and veterans' organizations, military members, and mental health professionals to develop recommendations to provide better behavioral health care services to veterans returning home. Michael is currently working with stakeholders throughout Colorado to implement these recommendations.
- In response to increased reports of delays in GI Bill payments, and after his own survey that found two out of three Colorado student veterans reported delays in education benefit payments, Michael wrote a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki calling for a critical examination of the effectiveness of the Department's delivery of education benefits, so that student veterans are able to get the benefits they earned on time.