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After wars, US struggles to provide care for vets

Published on May 22, 2014 7:07 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The scandal over delays in medical care for US veterans has put the spotlight on a sprawling bureaucracy struggling to cope with an influx of patients with new ailments after a decade of war.

The Veteran Affairs Department (VA) was already under scrutiny over its slow-moving health service, but allegations that a Phoenix hospital maintained a secret waiting list and that up to 40 veterans may have died as a result have sparked a furious reaction.

The disturbing claims have placed President Barack Obama on the defensive, but he has cited the strain of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an aggravating factor.

"We all know that it often takes too long for veterans to get the care that they need. That's not a new development," Mr Obama told a news conference on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

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