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Government/Politics

Abbott Focuses On Improving Veterans Access To Care During Veteran's Day Speech

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Ryan E. Poppe
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Gov. Greg Abbott At State Capitol Veteran's Day Celebration

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Veteran's in Austin's Veteran's Day Parade

  As the sound from the parade leading up to the South Steps of the State Capitol fades away, veterans like former Army Capt. Sabino Rubio have time to reflect on what it means to be a veteran in Texas, where many soldiers still wait months to see a doctor at a VA clinic.

“I would like to see a little more improvement.  A little more staffing at the VA hospitals and medical systems and it would be nice if we could speed that up," Rubio said.

Army veteran Fidel Loza made several paratrooper drops inside hostile territory during the Vietnam War.  Loza says he didn’t serve his country to collect benefits, but the promise of providing healthcare to veterans is there and it’s a promise that should be honored.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Reenactment groups in Austin's Veteran's Day Parade

“Give them what they have coming and don’t make them wait so long when they got to go appeal and appeal for benefits but they are already entitled to it, they just take too long," Loza said.

During the commemoration ceremony at the capitol, Gov. Abbott told the crowd he would continue to push the federal government to do more when it comes to veteran’s being able to see a doctor in a timely manner.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Gov. Abbott visits with veterans at State Capitol Veteran's Day Commemoration ceremony

  “No veteran should ever have to wait in line to access healthcare.  Those who have served in the United States military on the front lines should go to the front of the line when comes to accessing healthcare," Abbott told the crowd.

This summer Abbott and US Veterans Affairs Sec. Robert McDonald announced a partnership with the state, using the new UT medical school in the Rio Grande Valley as a way to help reduce the amount of time veterans are waiting to see a physician.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe

  For the military families celebrating this veteran’s day at the capitol, it’s not just a chance to reconnect with colleagues; it’s also an opportunity to remember those military veterans who have died over the last year because of health-related issues.  A solemn bell tolls as officials read aloud the names of state veteran groups that have lost a member in 2015.