Sixth District Congressional candidate Seth Moulton, a Salem Democrat, was joined in Bedford Tuesday by fellow Marine veterans as he called for more
Sixth District Congressional candidate Seth Moulton, a Salem Democrat, was joined in Bedford Tuesday by fellow Marine veterans as he called for more congressional oversight of the VA healthcare system. From left are Lt. Jeff Phaneuf, Lt. Col. Buck Grader, Moulton and Capt. Jake Grader. Sun/Katie Lannan

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BEDFORD -- Calling Congress "completely out of touch" with the needs of veterans, Democratic 6th District Congressional candidate Seth Moulton on Tuesday said the only way to fix the veterans' healthcare system is by electing people who understand it.

"Any healthcare system needs oversight," said Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps. "For the VA, Congress is charged with providing that oversight, and it has completely failed."

Speaking near the campus of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Moulton called for improvements in care and oversight, as well as a greater investment in veterans' healthcare.

"It is outrageous that the wealthiest country on earth, with the most powerful military the world has ever seen, willingly sends its young men and women to the far reaches of the globe and then refuses to take care of them when they come home," Moulton said. "Our veterans' care is a travesty."

Moulton said he's had to wait two hours to get his blood drawn at a VA hospital. He said a member of his platoon repeatedly asked for a replacement knee after a grenade blew out his, but was instead given stronger doses of painkillers.

Another man he'd served with, Moulton said, died of a heart attack at 30 years old after taking medications to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

"We as a society let him down when he came home," Moulton said.


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Moulton is running against incumbent Rep. John Tierney for their party's nomination in a district that includes Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Tewksbury and Wilmington.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's Sun or visit http://www.lowellsun.com.