Obama touts progress for vets but says more needs to be done

Obama: We must ensure our veterans receive care
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Story highlights

  • President Barack Obama highlighted the need to employ America's vets during a Veterans Day celebration
  • "Our tributes today will also ring hollow if we don't find our veterans jobs and opportunities when they come home," Obama said

Washington (CNN)In commemorating Veterans Day on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said his administration was improving care for veterans but said more needs to be done.

"I am still not satisfied," he said during the Veterans Day National Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. "We are going to keep investing in the facilities and the physicians and the staff to make sure that our veterans get the care that you need when you need it. That is our obligation, and we are not going to let up."
The Department of Veterans Affairs fell under scrutiny over the last year after a CNN investigation revealed that a Phoenix VA center and other locations hid long wait lists for veteran treatment. In September, a VA inspector general report found that 307,000 veterans may have died waiting for VA health care.
    The report included a web of complications with the VA's management of health care enrollment data, including a lack of procedures to oversee records, software glitches within the records system and inconsistency in identifying veterans who have died.
    And despite billions of extra dollars poured into the agency in the last year and numerous reforms intended to improve veterans' access to care, whistleblowers and internal documents obtained by CNN last month reveal some VA facilities continue to grapple with appointment wait times of months or more.
    Obama said Wednesday that his administration has made progress in helping American veterans by reducing veteran homelessness and bringing down disability claims by 90%.
    "The good news is, is that in recent years, we've made historic investments to boost the VA budget, expand benefits, offer more mental health care and improve care for our wounded warriors," he said.
    Obama specifically addressed the need to assist men and women finishing their service with employment.
    "Our tributes today will also ring hollow if we don't find our veterans jobs and opportunities when they come home," Obama said. He added that although the unemployment rate for veterans was lower than the national average at 3.9%, he encouraged companies to hire more vets.
    "Our veterans are some of the most talented driven capable people on earth," Obama said. "They may have put away their uniform, but that doesn't mean they are finished serving their country."
    "This day is not only about gratitude for what they have done for us, it is also a reminder of all that they still have to give our nation, and our duty to them," he added.
    The Veteran's Day celebration paid special tribute to veterans of World War II, 70 years after the war's end.