Brookfield, WI – It’s one of the programs that has always paid huge dividends. The G.I. Bill of Rights, an educational grant and a first time home buyer benefit for military veterans, has given opportunity to millions and contributed to the American economy. Democrat Tom Palzewicz, running for the Fifth Congressional District seat, is a classic case in point.
Upon returning home from a six-year hitch in the U.S. Navy, Palzewicz got his degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That led to a career in banking, followed by a career as a business consultant. When he and wife, Terri, bought their first home, it was the G.I. Bill that made that a possibility.
“The educational access was essential to my getting established professionally,” said Palzewicz. “We would not have been able to buy our first home without the G.I. Bill. Terri and I would not have been able to afford the down-payment alone, but it was basically no money down. When you help veterans with college, they will repay that grant thousands of times over. It’s a very good risk.”
While many will agree with the basics of the G.I. Bill, what is not necessarily thought about is healthcare for returning veterans. Palzewicz believes all returning veterans should have access to mental healthcare.
“The VA healthcare system has been continuously cut back,” said Palzewicz. “The reason behind this action is that Republicans want to privatize that system. In 2014 President Obama signed a reform bill to give the Department of Veterans Affairs the necessary resources they need to care for our men and women in uniform. Obama made the move to hold people accountable for misconduct and reached out to more than 200,000 vets, who were on wait lists and did not have immediate access to care.”
Palzewicz stresses the need to take care of veterans and advocates for providing the requisite funding to the VA to ensure the programs are carried out. He also sees the need to develop a universal healthcare plan to ensure that veterans are covered, as well as the general public.
“I think of universal healthcare as Medicare for all and that would mean our veterans are covered,” said Palzewicz. “ We need to build a better healthcare system. Once we have universal healthcare, which will benefit everybody, we no longer need to have a separate veteran’s healthcare system. We no longer have to have a separate Medicare system or Medicaid system or Badger care. It is straight forward, everybody is covered.
“From a financial standpoint, by just covering everyone, we can also save a lot of money which would otherwise go to funding all these separate agencies. We put that money into paying for the coverage. We can streamline the system, while ensuring quality care and save money in the process.”
Palzewicz understands the needs of returning vets and the necessity of their having access to specialized healthcare. He would rather the focus be on fulfilling those needs and not on the bureaucracy of multiple agencies duplicating effort.