VFP's Save Our VA (SOVA) National Campaign was organized several years ago to seek justice for veterans and to strengthen and improve the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Today, the SOVA National Campaign consists of more than a hundred individual VFP members and supporters working across the nation in collaboration of our allies in the VA unions: the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and National Nurses United (NNU). We also partner with the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute. SOVA's activities include:
- political analysis;
- alerting our network of SOVA veterans' groups and other activists to contact members of congress in response to legislation/policies impacting the VHA;
- encouraging people to write letters to the editor, Op-ed articles on the issues;
- building/maintaining a VFP network of SOVA groups and support them in lobbying members of congress and expanding their lobbying potential; and
- conducting educational meetings including Zoom meetings/presentations.
Save Our VA seeks justice for veterans by fighting to stop outsourcing of VHA health care, which is critical to all veterans, their families, and to the larger population. Veterans are a unique population with healthcare needs that require specialized care. Recognizing this, Congress gave the VHA four key missions:
- delivering clinical care;
- teaching future health professionals throughout the nation;
- conducting cutting edge research; and
- backing up the civilian sector in local or national emergencies.
Conservative political leaders, Big PHARMA and the healthcare industry have attacked the VHA by trying to privatize its services, outsource veteran care, and assure that the VHA is underfunded and understaffed. Their campaign created a bi-partisan consensus in Congress that produced The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (CHOICE Act) and more recently The VA MISSION Act of 2018 (MISSION Act) - that negatively impact the VHA.
Under the guise of providing "greater healthcare access to rural veterans", these legislative Acts expanded veterans' eligibility for "referrals" to private-sector and urgent care doctors. Funds directed to the private sector have increased from 8% to 39% under the CHOICE program and are escalating even further under the MISSION Act's new Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP). Every dollar for non-VA healthcare comes out of the VHA's already insufficient budget and undermines the VHA's capacity to serve the nine million veterans who depend on it. Even though several studies have shown that VHA healthcare is as good and often superior to private-sector healthcare.