More than half of U.S. veterans have trouble accessing VA care, poll shows

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More than half of U.S. military veterans say it is either “very” or “somewhat” difficult to access care at Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Gallup found that slightly less than a third of veterans find it “very” or “somewhat” easy to access care.

The results reflect the heavy scrutiny the VA faces amid reports of lengthy waiting times and secretive bookkeeping to hide the long lines. In some cases, veterans died before they could get treatment.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to resign, and President Obama will appoint former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald to head the department.

“The common perception of most veterans about the difficulty of accessing VA care, many of whom have personally used the VA system, confirms that the department is failing to meet the medical needs of many of those it is designed to serve,” Gallup said. “At the same time, that is not the belief or experience of all veterans, with three in 10 saying it is easy to get access to medical care through the VA.”

More than half of U.S. veterans, 51 percent, say they are following news about the VA very closely, with 39 percent saying they are following it somewhat closely — a higher level than the general population, Gallup said.

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