[A] bill announced Thursday by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I, VT) and Senator John McCain (R, AZ) would allow veterans who wait 30 days or more for VA appointments or who live at least 40 miles from a VA hospital or clinic to use private doctors enrolled as providers for Medicare, military TRICARE or other government health care programs.
This is clearly a step in the right direction, but this bill absolutely does not complete the reform of the VA. Why should a veteran have to wait 30 days before he can see a non-VA doctor that he could see tomorrow at urgency or in a few days to a week otherwise?
Why should a veteran have to drive 39 miles to a VA facility, driving past a non-VA doctor’s office just 10 miles away?
Why should a veteran be required to see a government-designated doctor when he could see one that he prefers those 10 miles away?
No. The final way, the complete way, to reform this VA is to disband it and let our veterans see the doctors they choose to see at the medical facility they and their doctor deem appropriate, with the VA’s budget paid to the veterans as vouchers.
The Sanders-McCain bill, it’s claimed
also would let the VA immediately fire as many as 450 senior regional executives and hospital administrators for poor performance.
Again, a useful step, but this cannot be a final one. Disbanding the VA and returning all of the VA’s employees to the private sector clears this problem away, also, and with finality.