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(MRAPs) by $23.6 billion, which saved thousands of lives and limbs of U.S. service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he introduced legislation to prohibit cuts to military medical care during times of war. 

In the White House, Biden continued to be a clarion voice advocating for our veterans. The Obama-Biden Administration accomplished , including by almost half and . In 2013,  when an unacceptable backlog of veterans’ disability claims was uncovered at the VA, the Obama-Biden Administration took aggressive action to rectify the failures and ultimately in just over three years. The Obama-Biden Administration also increased the overall funding request for the VA by more than during its years in office, including a in funding devoted to the critical issue of veterans’ mental health. It successfully implemented the new GI Bill and approved the long overdue expansion of benefits to those suffering from

During the Obama-Biden Administration, the VA also led in creating the to help veterans access their health data and medical records more easily. Today, Blue Button is used by more than .

Additionally, Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama created and led the initiative to build support for our veterans and military families, including a focus on increasing employment opportunities. Between April 2011 and the end of the Administration, Joining Forces supported programs and secured commitments from employers that led to the hiring or training of more than 1.5 million veterans and military spouses.

Our longest wars have taken their toll, both on our newest generation of veterans and on the system built to support them and previous generations of veterans. According to the most recent census data, there are more than in the United States, and today’s veterans population has needs that the VA has never before addressed. This is reflected both in the growing interest for “anywhere, anytime” health care service models and in our growing understanding of behavioral health challenges, the harmful impacts of burn pits, environmental toxins, traumatic brain injury, and the devastating epidemic of opioid addiction and suicide. The VA must adapt to meet the ever-evolving needs of the veteran community.  

At the same time, the VA continues to struggle with poor organizational performance, staff shortfalls, leadership gaps, and IT systems failures. The integration of a new generation of veterans into the VA system has added a substantial number of veterans eligible for health care and other benefits as overall demand for services has surged, with the combination creating capacity challenges across the system. Too often, the VA’s performance in terms of access, outcomes, cost, and accountability is mixed. There have been both important successes and intolerable failures or gaps in service. Solving these challenges will require a substantial investment in talent, leadership time, budget, and public attention. It’s what we owe our veterans. It is past time to rethink and reinvent a better VA.

There is nothing partisan about improving support for service members, veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.  As president, Joe Biden will unite the country and restore the VA as the premier agency for ensuring our veterans’ overall well-being by: 

To support the VA mission, a Biden Administration will ensure coordination with the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), state agencies, and the thousands of non-governmental organizations that support this vital community. It will work faithfully to restore public trust in the VA so that no one in the military community or beyond will ever again question whether the United States of America keeps its promises to those who serve our country. 

Providing Veterans World Class Health Care to Meet Their Specific Needs

The Veterans Health Administration serves upwards of and is responsible for their whole health, physical and mental. Studies have found that health are often , and more than of those who receive their health services through the VA report that they would recommend it to a fellow veteran. As president, Joe Biden will work to ensure that the VA provides the world class health care that our veterans have earned and deserve and sets the example for private sector care. 

In the area of mental health, the VA and DoD have done pioneering work to address the specific needs of veterans, deploying innovative treatment solutions such as telehealth and other platforms to address a variety of conditions. The private sector trails the VA in its ability to provide behavioral health services to the nation as a whole, much less to understand the unique needs of veterans. 

At the same time, the VA is also struggling with a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, and many VA facilities are more than 60 years old. Further, across the system, the variance in quality of — and access to — care is unacceptable. As the demand for treatment has increased, the VA must continually strive to improve services and outcomes for veterans, especially in the areas of pain, polytrauma recovery, substance-use disorder (SUD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and general behavioral health, in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible.

In addition to protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act with a public option to expand access to quality, affordable health care and lower costs, and commitments to keep rural hospitals open and expand health care delivery models for rural areas, a Biden Administration will: 

Driving Progress to Promote Veterans’ Mental Health and Well-Being 

Suicide is a public health crisis–the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. As a society, we need to work together to eliminate the stigma felt by those who are suffering and struggling with their mental health. There is no shame in asking for help. As president, Joe Biden will increase access to mental health treatment by enforcing full mental health parity and ensuring all Americans have access to high-quality mental health care, regardless of their insurance coverage status. Service members and veterans are at an elevated risk of dying by suicide. Recent data show that, on average, , and among some groups, the rate of suicide is rising alarmingly. Even one death by suicide is devastating, and we must do more to stem the tide. The Trump administration has grossly mismanaged this crisis, at one point leaving , and that’s just not right. This is a serious challenge, and our goal must be to remove the stigma in military communities to seek help, ensure that every veteran that reaches out is immediately connected to support and services, and to ultimately end the suicide crisis among veterans. As president, Biden will ensure a multi-faceted, substantive, and sustained commitment that addresses this as the public health emergency that it is. 

The same is true when it comes to veterans experiencing homelessness. The Obama-Biden Administration proved that we can make huge inroads to address this persistent challenge with sustained attention and cross-coordination among government departments. But with just over , we have much more work to do. 

A Biden Administration will: 

Creating Civilian Lives of Meaning and Opportunity 

The Obama-Biden Administration worked tirelessly to bring down high unemployment levels among our veterans. Over the course of 8 years, the Obama-Biden administration cut the veteran unemployment rate by more than half. That is vitally important progress, but now, we have to think about empowering our veterans and their future employers with the tools they need to build pathways to successful, long-term careers. Recent data indicate that veterans are more likely than their civilian counterparts to take a job at. As president, Biden will keep his foot on the gas to ensure that service members transitioning back to civilian lives have the best opportunities to succeed and build fulfilling futures. 

A Biden Administration will: 

Improving VA Management and Accountability

The agency charged with meeting the needs of our veterans–not only their health care needs, but administering their full range of benefits and overseeing the cemeteries that guard their honor in death–should not be limited by outdated management tools and practices. Our veterans deserve the best services available. As president, Biden will enhance the capacity of the VA to serve our veterans as efficiently as possible by overseeing a generational upgrade to clinical and management systems, by leveraging commercial best-practices and modern technologies to meet the unique demands of public sector mission. 

A Biden Administration will: