Seth Moulton launched an offensive against John Tierney this week as he highlighted ongoing problems in the country’s veterans’ hospitals.
Speaking at a press conference across the street from the Veterans Affairs hospital in Bedford, Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq, called it “outrageous” that “the most powerful country in the world willingly sends its men and women into war and then refuses needed care when they return.”
“Like millions of veterans, I rely on the VA for my health care,” said Moulton. “I have personally waited over two hours just to get blood drawn. I have friends who have waited months and years for needed surgeries.”
Moulton was responding to recent news reports alleging a cover-up of excessive wait times at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. He pointed out that Tierney led an investigation into problems at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., in 2007, but faulted him for not doing enough afterward.
“Clearly, the congressman knew that veterans across the country were not getting the care they needed and had earned, yet seven years later he has done the only thing worse than nothing: he’s turned a blind eye,” said Moulton. “We need more than lip service. We need someone who knows what it’s like to be on the ground, on the front lines, and then understands the challenges of coming home from war.”
But Ryan Matthews, Tierney’s campaign manager, said Tierney has “always been there for our veterans,” and called Moulton’s choice of venue “ironic and particularly desperate,” since the congressman had saved the Bedford hospital from closure or consolidation numerous times.
“In the district, he has worked with the VA to open and expand veterans’ outpatient clinics so that local veterans have easy access to quality, accessible medical care,” Matthews said. “In Congress, John’s oversight work helped expose the neglect at Walter Reed and other military installations, and led to the passage of the Wounded Warrior Act, which guaranteed wounded soldiers received improved medical care.”