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Vets Use Memorial Day To Raise Concerns About VA Health Care

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Ceremonies around the nation honored the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day comes as there are growing questions about health care for veterans.

Colorado veterans gathered at the new Veterans Affairs hospital being built in Aurora on Monday to voice their concerns over the quality of health care they are receiving.

The veterans say they did what their country asked of them and now they want their country to follow through on its promise of quality health care. The veterans and other demonstrators held signs saying to finish building the hospital.

The VA promised a new hospital for Colorado’s 500,000 veterans for more than a decade. They broke ground five years ago and it should have been complete by now. It’s $500 million over budget, a year overdue and the subject of 16 lawsuits from contractors who say the VA is not paying them. The VA and contractor also can’t agree on how much of the project is complete.

“This is not a day that we should have to be out here protesting and wondering nine years later, ‘Where’s our hospital?’ ” said Artie Guerrero, a Vietnam veteran.

“Memorial Day we remember our dead, and you know what? I remember my buddy Joe Ross, a World War II veteran that stood beside me at the groundbreaking at the beginning of the construction throughout this whole thing, but Joe died. He’s no longer with us. He’s a World War II hero,” veteran Tom Bock said.

The delay in building the hospital has exacerbated other problems within the VA health care system, including 6-month wait lists.

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