- Donald Trump
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July 11, 2016 Speech
DONALD J. TRUMP: AMERICA FIRST MEANS VETERANS FIRSTToday, Donald J. Trump spoke at the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mr. Trump declared a commitment to upholding law and order in this country, and fighting to ensure that our veterans are served with the best medical care. The Clinton/Obama administration has betrayed our veterans' trust. Mr. Trump unveiled a 10-point plan to reform the VA and place veterans’ healthcare as a top priority. A transcript of the prepared remarks can be viewed via the link below:
ICYMI - Trump's Ten Point Plan To Reform VA
Mr. Trump spoke today on the need to serve and protect those who have served and protected us - our police, law enforcement and military personnel.
Excerpts from the speech:
"We are going to reform our visa programs to ensure American Veterans are in the front, not back, of the line."
"Veterans should come first in the county they fought to protect, and under a Trump Administration they will."
"Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of the Status Quo"
"Hillary Clinton’s America is a country where the elite get one standard of treatment and everybody else gets second-class treatment."
"The decades of decay, division and decline will come to an end. The years of American Greatness will return."
"We are going to fight for our military and our law enforcement personnel the same way they have fought for us. We will be a safe, strong, and proud country once again."
In addition, he laid out a bold ten point plan for Veterans Reform:
Mr. Trump's Ten Point Plan To Reform The Department Of Veterans Affairs
1. Mr. Trump will appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. The Obama Administration has continually placed D.C. bureaucrats' needs above those of veterans, this will not happen under a Trump Administration.
2. Mr. Trump will use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public's trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.
3. Mr. Trump will ask that Congress pass legislation that empowers the Secretary of the VA to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety or well-being of a veteran.
4. Mr. Trump will create a commission to investigate all the fraud, cover-ups, and wrong-doing that has taken place in the VA, and present these findings to Congress for to spur legislative reform.
5. Mr. Trump will protect and promote honest employees at the VA who highlight wrongdoing, and he will guarantee their jobs will be protected.
6. Mr. Trump will create a private White House hotline, which will be active 24 hours a day answered by a real person. It will be devoted to answering veteran's complaints of wrongdoing at the VA and ensure no complaints fall through the cracks.
7. Mr. Trump will stop giving bonuses to any VA employees who are wasting money, and start rewarding employees who seek to improve the VA's service, cut waste, and save lives.
8. Mr. Trump will reform the visa system to ensure veterans are at the front of the line for health services, not the back.
9. Mr. Trump will increase the number of mental health care professionals, and allow veteran's to be able to seek mental health care outside of the VA.
Mr. Trump will ensure every veteran has the choice to seek care at the
VA or at a private service provider of their own choice. Under a Trump
Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service. These days are
over starting January 2017.
Clinton Has Failed Our Vets
The Clinton/Obama era has been disastrous for our nation's veterans. Under their failed leadership, too many of our nation's finest died waiting to receive medical help from injuries suffered protecting our country. Clinton's refusal to acknowledge the "widespread" and "systemic failures" that exist in our VA is only intensifying the problems. As Americans we need to demand more from our public officials to serve our heroes as they served us. The Clinton/Obama way of enriching bureaucrats who fail our veterans is wrong.
THE VETERANS AFFAIRS SENATE REPORT SHOWS "SYSTEMATIC FAILURES" AT VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTERS
In May, A Senate Investigation Revealed Widespread "Systemic Failures" By The Veteran Affairs Inspector General's Review Of The Veteran Affairs Medical Center In Tomah, Wis..." "A Senate investigation of poor health care at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., found systemic failures in a VA inspector general's review of the facility that raise questions about the internal watchdog's ability to ensure adequate health care for veterans nationwide… One of the biggest failures identified by Senate investigators was the inspector general's decision not to release its investigation report, which concluded two providers at the facility had been prescribing alarming levels of narcotics." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
- The Probe Found The VA's Inspector General "Discounted Key Evidence And Witness Testimony, Needlessly Narrowed Its Inquiry And Has No Standard For Determining Wrongdoing." "The probe by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found the inspector general's office, which is charged with independently investigating VA complaints, discounted key evidence and witness testimony, needlessly narrowed its inquiry and has no standard for determining wrongdoing." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
"One Of The Biggest Failures" Was That The VA IG Failed To Release An Investigative Report That Would Have Forced VA Officials To Publicly Address The Excessive Prescription Of Narcotics At The Facility. One of the biggest failures identified by Senate investigators was the inspector general's decision not to release its investigation report, which concluded two providers at the facility had been prescribing alarming levels of narcotics. The facility's chief of staff at the time was David Houlihan, a physician veterans had nick-named 'candy man' because he doled out so many pills. Releasing the report would have forced VA officials to publicly address the issue and ensured follow up by the inspector general to make sure the VA took action. Instead, the inspector general's office briefed local VA officials and closed the case." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
- The Chief Of Staff At A VA Facility Was Nick-Named "Candy Man" For Prescribing So Many Pills."The facility's chief of staff at the time was David Houlihan, a physician veterans had nick-named 'candy man' because he doled out so many pills. Releasing the report would have forced VA officials to publicly address the issue and ensured follow up by the inspector general to make sure the VA took action. Instead, the inspector general's office briefed local VA officials and closed the case." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
The Investigation Raised Concerns That The VA's Watchdog Is Able To Ensure "Adequate Health Care For Veterans Nationwide.""A Senate investigation of poor health care at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., found systemic failures in a VA inspector general's review of the facility that raise questions about the internal watchdog's ability to ensure adequate health care for veterans nationwide." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
According To The Report, In Three Months "The VA Investigated And Substantiated A Majority Of The Allegations That The VA OIG Could Not Substantiate After Several Years." "'In just three months, the VA investigated and substantiated a majority of the allegations that the VA OIG could not substantiate after several years,' the committee report notes." (Donovan Slack, "Senate Investigation finds 'Systemic' Failures At VA Watchdog," USA Today , 05/31/16)
An Internal VA Investigation Also Found Widespread Problems
An Internal Department Of Veterans Affairs Investigation Found That Schedulers Routinely Misreported When Patients Actually Wanted To See A Doctor Or Receive Care, Making It Impossible To Track Delays. "An internal Department of Veterans Affairs investigation found that schedulers in Texas routinely misreported when patients actually wanted to see a doctor or get some other type of care, making it impossible to track delays in the care they received." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
- The Report Tracked Problems In Clinics And Medical Facilities In Central And South Texas."The report released Tuesday by the VA's Office of Inspector General tracks problems in clinics and medical facilities in central and South Texas." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
- According To The Report, Schedulers Listed The First Available Date That A Patient Could Be Seen As The Date That A Patient Had Wanted To Be Seen. "According to the report, schedulers often listed the first available date that a patient could be seen as the date that a patient had wanted to be seen. This meant there was no way to track how much longer those seeking care waited to get it." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
- VA Employees Reported That They Sometimes Engaged In Misleading Scheduling At The Behest Of Their Supervisors. "VA employees reported to investigators that they sometimes engaged in misleading scheduling at the behest of their supervisors." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
An Employee At An Austin Clinic Said her Supervisor Taught Her How To Make Patient Wait Times Equal To Zero."An employee at an Austin clinic said her supervisor and another employee taught her how to make patient wait times equal zero by manipulating appointment dates, and that she was again trained to "zero out" wait times after moving to another facility."(Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
- One Scheduler Reported That A Supervisor Threatened To Fire Her If She Didn't Zero-Out Wait Time Data."A Kerrville scheduler reported that a supervisor threatened to fire her if she didn't zero-out wait time data." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)
In A Previous Report, The VA Inspector General Also Found Widespread Problems At VA Facilities
The VA IG Found Serious Fraud And Regulatory Violations At 51 VA Medical Facilities But Failed To Recommend Corrective Actions."Investigators for the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General found serious fraud and regulatory violations linked to scheduling problems at 51 VA medical facilities, but then failed to recommend any corrective actions." (Ethan Barton, "VA Watchdog Finds Serious Fraud, But Suggests NO Corrective Action," Daily Caller, 2/26/16)
- IG Investigators Failed To Adequately Investigate Whistleblower Disclosures. "[T]he VA IG 'failed to adequately investigate whistleblower disclosures about veterans' access to mental healthcare,' the Office of Special Counsel reported Thursday. Two whistleblowers… reported that they were required to 'violate VA scheduling protocols,' which 'created a false appearance of acceptable wait times while masking significant delays in veterans' access to care,' OSC wrote in a letter to Congress and the White House. 'The OIG failed to adequately address the whistleblowers' core concerns about access to care and whether these practices violated VA directives,' the letter said. The IG 'limited its investigation to whether' employees were using 'secret' spreadsheets outside the VA's official scheduling system, rather than if there was an issue with access to mental health care or wait times"(Ethan Barton, "VA Watchdog Finds Serious Fraud, But Suggests NO Corrective Action," Daily Caller, 2/26/16)
Special Counsel Said That VA Investigation Into Misconduct Allegations Was "Incomplete" Because It Didn't Respond To Issues Raised By The Whistleblower. "The OIG investigations that the VA submitted in response to both referrals are incomplete. They do not respond to the issues that the whistleblower raised." (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
- The OIG Investigations Found Evidence To Support Whistleblower Allegations That VA Employees Were Intentionally Working Outside Of Official Systems. "The OIG investigations found evidence to support the whistleblowers allegations that employees were using separate spreadsheets outside of the VA's electronic scheduling and patient record systems." (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
- The OIG Limited Its Review To Whether The Spreadsheets Were 'Secret.' "The OIG largely limited its review to determining whether these separate spreadsheets were 'secret.'" (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
- "The Special Counsel Determined That The Agency Report Does Not Meet The Statutory Requirements, Nor Do the Agency's Findings Appear Reasonable." "Specifically, the report offers no findings regarding the allegations that scheduling personnel failed to follow proper scheduling protocol and were not properly trained on agency scheduling policies and practices, or that management encouraged the manipulation of electronic scheduling system." (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
- The Evidence Does Not Fully Support The VA's Findings And Conclusions. "The evidence does not fully support the VA's findings and conclusions." (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
- The Report Does Not Sufficiently Address The Whistleblower's Allegation That There Was A Significant Delay In Access To Care That The VA Electronic Scheduling System Did Not Reflect, Which Endangered Public Health And Safety. "The report does not sufficiently address Mr. Wilke's allegation that there was a significant delay in access to care in the Overton Brooks Mental Health Clinic that the VA electronic scheduling system did not accurately reflect, which endangered public health and safety."(Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)
CLINTON CLAIMED VA PROBLEMS UNDER OBAMA WERE NOT "WIDESPREAD"
In An October 2015 Interview, Clinton Said The VA Scandal Has "Not Been As Widespread As It Has Been Made Out To Be ." CLINTON: "Yeah, and I don't understand that. You know, I don't understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment. Now…" MSNBC'S RACHEL MADDOW: "Much more so than people in the regular system." CLINTON: "That's exactly right." MSNBC'S RACHEL MADDOW: "Yeah. Right." CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." MSNBC'S RACHEL MADDOW: "But in part because there has been real scandal." CLINTON: "There has been. And - but it's not been as widespread as it has been made out to be." (MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)
- Clinton Accused Republicans Of "Constant Berating Of The V.A. That Comes From The Republicans, In Part In Pursuit Of This Ideological Agenda…" CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the V.A. that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." (MSNBC's " The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)
Through A Spokesman, Clinton Refused To Apologize For Her Remarks. "'Republicans are trying to suggest the only solution to the VA's problems is to privatize it, but Hillary Clinton will not apologize for insisting on doing the hard work to reform the VA, rather than ending it altogether,' [Clinton campaign Press Secretary Brian] Fallon said." (Ben Kelsing, "Republicans Take Aim at Hillary Clinton For VA Remarks," The Wall Street Journal , 10/28/15)
Days Later, Clinton Dodged Questions On Whether She Stood By Her Comments In Which She Downplayed The Scandal Plaguing The VA. QUESTION: "So this week, taking a lot of criticism about some recent comments you made about the VA, saying the scandal was overblown and that the problems aren't as widespread as people would have you believe. Do you stand by these comments?" CLINTON: "You know, I share the outrage that everybody felt when the scandal was finally discovered and people began to address it. There were clearly systemic problems and those problems must be dealt with, I've already been talking about what I would do. But I am worried about some people trying to use the fact that we need to make major reforms as a justification for dismantling the VA and I think my comments were really more directed at that. I want us to fix what's wrong, I want us to make sure that anyone who's ever served our country, no matter what age, no matter when they served, gets whatever medical support that they need and I support the program that was passed to provide the opportunity if you can't get the services that you need in your VA to be able to go out and get those services in the community. But from all of my work on behalf of veterans, there's a lot about the VA that's right, a lot that works. So let's focus on what's wrong and fix it and not let anybody use that as an excuse, because there are things that have to be fixed, to try to dismantle the VA." ( WMUR Interview With Hillary Clinton, 10/28/15)
- Clinton: "There's A Lot About The VA That's Right, A Lot That Works." CLINTON: "But from all of my work on behalf of veterans, there's a lot about the VA that's right, a lot that works. So let's focus on what's wrong and fix it and not let anybody use that as an excuse, because there are things that have to be fixed, to try to dismantle the VA." ( WMUR Interview With Hillary Clinton, 10/28/15)
VA Secretary Bob McDonnell Companies Wait Times To Disney Land
VA Secretary Compares Hospital Wait Times To Disneyland
"'The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring.
What we should be measuring is the veteran's satisfaction,' McDonald
at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, according to
The Hill newspaper. 'When you go to Disney, do they measure the number
of hours you
wait in line?' he asked. 'What's important is what's your satisfaction
with the experience.'"(Rebecca Shabad, "Veterans Affairs Secretary
Times To Lines At Disneyland," CBS,
Hillary for America
Trump’s Decades Of Disdain For Veterans
an address about veterans this afternoon in
Virginia. Perhaps he should address his own record. Trump’s
recklessness, his lack of knowledge on national security, and his
thin-skinned temperament would make our country and our troops less
safe. The few policy reforms his campaign has actually embraced, like
moving toward privatizing the VA, would deprive our veterans of the
unique support they need and deserve. And for literally decades, Trump
has been treating our veterans with disdain, from a deluge of deeply
offensive comments, to taking actions that directly targeted and
damaged the lives of those who have served.
Take a look:
Trump's Campaign Has Signaled He Wants To Privatize The VA, And Said He Opposed The Post-9/11 GI Bill
WSJ: “While short on details, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee would likely push VA health care toward privatization and might move for it to become more of an insurance provider like Medicare rather than an integrated hospital system, said Sam Clovis, Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, in an interview.”
POLL: 64% of veterans oppose privatization -- with 54% of them strongly opposing it -- while only 29% support it.
Hillary Clinton: “We cannot and I will not put our vets at the mercy of private insurance companies without any coordination, or leave them to fend for themselves with health care providers who have no expertise in the unique challenges that are facing our veterans… Privatization is a betrayal, plain and simple, and I’m not going to let it happen.”
Asked point-blank in May if he supported the Post-9/11 G.I., which has benefitted over 700,000 veterans and their family members, Trump said no.
Trump Dishonored Iraq War Veterans By Repeatedly Praising Saddam Hussein
Trump, 7/5/2016: “You know what [Saddam Hussein] did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over.”
Trump, Dec. 2015: "Saddam Hussein throws a little gas, everyone goes crazy, 'oh he's using gas!... they go back, forth, it's the same. And they were stabilized."
Trump, Jan. 2014: "Whether you like Saddam Hussein or not, he used to kill terrorists. Now if you go to Iraq, it's like the Harvard for terrorists."
Washington Post Editorial: “Saddam Hussein was not ‘so good’ at killing terrorists, as Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed. On the contrary, he was one of the contemporary world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism. He harbored or funded some of history’s most infamous killers and jihadists, including the current chief of al-Qaeda, and plotted numerous terrorist attacks of his own, including an attempt to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush with a suicide bomb.”
ABC News: Congressman and Iraq War Vet Blasts Trump's Praise of Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein
Trump Broadly Attacked Troops Who Served In Iraq, Accusing Them Of Stealing Iraq Recovery Funds
Trump: “Iraq, crooked as hell. How about bringing baskets of money, millions and millions of dollars, and handing it out? I want to know, who are the soldiers that had that job? Because I think they're living very well right now, whoever they may be."
Weekly Standard: Trump: American Soldiers in Iraq Stole Money, 'Living Very Well Right Now'
Washington Free Beacon: Veterans Push Back at Trump Over Theft Accusations
Iraq War Veteran: “Mostly, I’ve kept my thoughts about politics and social issues to myself. But...I felt compelled to speak out…. You see, during my tour in Iraq from 2009 to 2010, I was one of those whose job it was to hand out ‘baskets of money.’... I personally never took a dime. No one else from my team took anything, either.… Trump’s statement attacking not just my character but also that of all the men and women I had the honor of serving with was repugnant. These people had raised their right hands and sacrificed a year or more of their lives in one of the worst situations imaginable, all for their country…. It’s infuriating to hear a billionaire real estate mogul...speak so callously against a group of Americans whom he knows next to nothing about.”
Trump Insults Our Military
Trump: “Our military is a disaster.”
NYT: “Donald J. Trump, who received draft deferments through much of the Vietnam War, told the author of a coming biography that he nevertheless ‘always felt that I was in the military’ because of his education at a military-themed boarding school.”
Trump on Armored Humvees: “If a bomb goes off our wounded warriors–instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they’re okay. They go for a little ride upward and they come down.”
Trump Businesses Have Fired Employees Because Of Their Military Service
HuffPo: Trump Institute Fired Veteran For ‘Absences’ After He Was Deployed To Afghanistan
CNN: Iraq war veteran claims Trump University fired her for serving in the Army Reserve
HuffPo: Third Veteran Dumped By Trump Because Of Military Service
Trump Repeatedly Lied About Donations To Veterans Charities
Washington Post: Here’s how we found out about Donald Trump’s phantom $1 million donation to vets
Mother Jones' Kevin Drum: “If character is supposed to be important in our presidents, this is evidence of the most contemptible kind of character imaginable. He tried to cheat a bunch of veterans!”
CNN: Trump’s website boasts that he gave $1 million to the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, but the event’s organizer said that’s nearly three times more than he actually gave.
Trump Scammed Veterans Through Trump University
CNN [VIDEO]: 40-year Navy veteran scammed out of more than $26,000 by Trump University
Ex-Marine: “[Trump University] was a con. I’m 25-years-old, barely making $3,000 a month and they told me to increase my credit limit. I just maxed out three credit cards and I’m supposed to be able to qualify for loans to buy real estate? Those stupid principles have led me to borrow $700,000 of other people’s money and lose it all. I’m still paying off some of that debt to this day.”
TIME: “The records indicate, for example, that Trump University collected approximately $40 million from its students–who included veterans, retired police officers and teachers–and that Trump personally received approximately $5 million of it”
Trump Insults Prisoners Of War
Trump on Sen. John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, ok? I hate to tell you.”
USA Today: McCain: Trump should apologize to POWs
BuzzFeed: Trump: I Don’t Regret McCain Comments, My Poll Numbers Went Up
Trump Attempted To Kick Disabled Veterans Who Were Vendors Off The Street Across Two Decades
1991: Trump Letter to State Assemblyman John Dearie: “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?... Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”
2004: Trump Letter to Mayor Bloomberg: “Whether they are veterans or not, they should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”
Hillary for America
Statement From HFA Adviser And Army Veteran Bishop Garrison On Trump's Veterans Plan
Bishop Garrison is a West
Point graduate who served five years in the U.S. Army, with two
one-year-long tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and served
as a Special Assistant and White House Liaison to both the Department
of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Today, Garrison
released the following statement on Trump's veterans plan:
just laid out. The policy reforms
heproposed would put us irreversibly on a path toward the wholesale
privatization of the VA. We can and must fix the VA to ensure it
provides top-of-the-line 21st century care for our veterans, and
Hillary Clinton has laid out a plan to do exactly that. But Donald
Trump's proposal would gut the VA of the resources needed to provide
high-quality, coordinated care. Fully privatizing the VA – the
inevitable result of Trump's proposals – is not a fix at all; it's an ideological crusade that will only compound the problem. It would deprive our veterans of access to the specialized care they require and deserve and leave them at the mercy of a private health care market that's ill-suited to handle their needs."
POLL: 64% of veterans oppose privatization -- with 54% of them strongly opposing it -- while only 29% support it.
Read Hillary Clinton’s Plan: Supporting Our Veterans, Troops, and Their Families
For Immediate Release, July 11, 2016
For Immediate Release
July 11, 2016
VA Employees Advocate Says Trump ‘Dead Wrong’ on Privatizing the VA
AFGE President: Trump plan
would betray veterans and break country’s promise to military
WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s plan to shut down the VA health care system and hand veterans a voucher to use only for-profit health care is an outrageous betrayal of our nation’s promise to care for the men and women who have borne the battle, the head of the union representing more than 230,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs said today.
“Donald Trump wants to throw veterans to the wolves,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Private health care for veterans would be an expensive disaster, and no one should be fooled into believing otherwise.
“The VA system provides the best possible health care to veterans at the lowest possible cost. Veterans know this and that’s why they overwhelmingly want to keep the VA health care they have,” Cox said. “Trump’s claims that privatization would improve care and cut costs are dead wrong. He is writing a blank check to huge hospital corporations to profit off the suffering of veterans.”
All independent assessments agree that the VA’s health care is best for veterans on both cost and quality. Veterans themselves overwhelmingly want their health care to come from the federal government, not private hospitals. Every single Veterans Service Organization outside the Koch Brothers-backed sham group is opposed to privatizing the VA.
“Donald Trump needs to learn that VA health care is a serious issue, not something he can embrace one day and dismantle the next. Just last fall he opposed VA privatization, today he supports it on a whim. One has to wonder if he has any idea of the consequences of depriving veterans of the integrated care system on which they rely or any idea of the enormity of the loss to the nation’s health care education system that closing the VA would entail. The irresponsibility of supporting the dismantling of the VA system is staggering,” Cox said.
Cox, who cared for veterans as a VA psychiatric nurse for 20 years, says the VA is working hard to resolve the staffing shortages and wait times that emerged in 2014, hiring 14,000 health care workers and overhauling its patient scheduling system. In the past two years, 97 percent of appointments in the VA were completed within 30 days, with an average wait time of 6.5 days to see a primary care doctor – compared to 19.5 days on average for non-VA patients in the private sector.
“We need to continue investing in the VA, not sell it off for parts,” Cox said. “Veterans who fought to defend our freedoms overseas shouldn’t have to come home and fight with for-profit health care corporations for the care they earned.”
If Trump were serious about caring for veterans, he would invest in the only health care system that is tailored to veterans, that is better than all others, and is working every day to become even stronger, Cox said.
“The VA is not just a health care system, but a community that unites veterans across all wars, ages, and backgrounds. This community heals veterans in ways no private hospital can,” he said. “Health care corporations need to look elsewhere for customers. They should not profit off the wounds of war.”
###The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.