Sunday, June 25, 2017

Trump's VA Reform

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

As a patient in the VA System, I welcome fixing the Veteran's Affairs system.  In my case, the need to address benefits and medical care is paramount.  I've been in the system since 1988 as a partially disabled veteran, and those of us in the system have a saying.  "The doctors are great, but you have to go through three administrators to get to your doctor."  The problem is, in the past whistleblowers exposing problems in the VA System are targeted for termination, and nothing ever gets fixed.  True to his campaign promise, President Donald Trump has begun the process of fixing the problems haunting the VA.  He signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.

“Veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation and now, we must fulfill our duty to them,” Trump said. “So to every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words, thank you.”

According to Fox News, The bill was prompted by the 2014 scandal at the Phoenix medical center where patients died while waiting for health care.

“What happened was a national disgrace and yet, some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls,” Trump said. “Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”

I believe this is the first of many bills we will see that will get the VA System back into shape.  Currently, when I show up for a 9:00 am appointment, I am usually happy if I can get out of there by dinner.  The bureaucracy is out of control, and any hope of improvement has been enabled by Trump's VA Accountability Act.

The Department of Veterans Affairs handles three major categories for America's vets: medical care, benefits and burials/memorials.

The measure passed the House by a 368-55 vote earlier this month. It passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.

Public service employee unions opposed the legislation, calling the attempt to protect veterans a "witch hunt".

Unfortunately, the unions place their power above the well-being of our veterans.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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