VA secretary says ideologues, corporations behind push for more private care
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 15, 2016
WASHINGTON — The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday pushed back against new recommendations on private health care and blasted “ideologues” and corporate interests for trying to privatize the veteran medical system.
Secretary Bob McDonald urged a Senate committee weighing the VA reforms to instead keep the agency firmly in control of when and how veterans receive private care, and to support its own $17-billion plan to manage outside doctor and hospital visits.
Congress is considering a new $65-$85 billion integrated public-private VA health care system recommended in July by the Commission on Care, a special review panel created after the 2014 VA wait-time scandal to overhaul the troubled agency and improve veteran access.
“Let’s face it, privatization would put more money into the pockets of people running health care corporations,” McDonald said in testimony to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “It’s in their interest, so of course it makes sense to them, even if it’s not what veterans need or want.”