You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Boehner wants to privatize VA

Speaker not calling for resignation of VA secretary. Says he needs more authority to deal with management.


More than two decades ago, House Speaker John Boehner said he offered an idea that was controversial at the time: Why not privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The idea was soundly rejected by veterans organizations.

Now, in the midst of a sweeping scandal over reports that veterans had died waiting for treatment, Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., said Friday that the idea still has merit.

“I still like the idea and especially now,” he said, but cautioned that “until we understand what’s happening and until we understand whether it can be fixed or how it can be fixed, all veterans seeking care shouldn’t have to wait.”

Boehner, in an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News Friday, said he believes the problems at the VA are “systemic,” and said he is not convinced that having VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resign will fix the problem.

“The reason I threw cold water on the idea is it’d be the easy way out to get rid of the secretary,” he said. “He’d resign, we’d wait for months and months, someone else would be nominated then cleared, then they’re brand new, and I think it just takes people’s eye off getting to the bottom of the problems.”

He spoke days after the House passed a bill that would give Shinseki more freedom to fire managers. Boehner called that bill “a first step in the right direction.”

“I think empowering (Shinseki) to be able to move some of these managers out of there and move others would help him get to the bottom of the problem,” he said.

He said he doesn’t believe that money is the problem, adding that there have been “sizeable increases” in VA funding over the last 15 years, as well as “all kinds of promises that things would be better.”

“It’s clear that even with all the additional funds given to them, things have not gotten better, they’ve gotten worse,” he said, adding “if money were to solve the problem, it would’ve been solved a long time ago.”

Complaints about VA wait times date back to the George W. Bush administration, but Boehner said reports out of Phoenix as well as recent articles in the Dayton Daily News have “started opening people’s eyes to wondering what in the world is going on.” His office, he said, currently has 135 open VA cases.

“It’s been my experience dealing with veterans in my district that they get second class care, and I don’t frankly think that’s right,” he said.

Boehner said the House Veterans Affairs Committee will “has to get to the bottom of what’s happening out there,” and said that they’ll no doubt be investigating the allegations in the weeks to come.

But he stopped short of suggesting further legislative remedies, saying “if you’re a doctor and you’ve got sick patient, the first thing you have to do is understand how sick is the patient is, what is the problem, before you can begin to prescribe a treatment process or a cure. I don’t want to get too far out front with what the cure is until I understand how bad the disease is.”

“I don’t know how bad it is,” he said. “But my sense is it’s worse than what we know so far.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Go fishing around lunchtime
Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Go fishing around lunchtime

All things swell…the earth, trees, plants, wood and even iron. Why should not the same thing be true of our minds? We must expand, like the leaves, if we would receive all the cleansing water in our souls. — Charles Burchfield, Journal, April 12, 1914 The Almanack Horoscope Moon Time: The Maple Flower Moon wanes throughout the period,...
Colorectal cancer preventable, with increased screening
Colorectal cancer preventable, with increased screening

Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. The Clark and Champaign County Colorectal Cancer Coalition has pledged to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the “80 percent by 2018” initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National...
Chamber: Springfield businesses, community growing greater together
Chamber: Springfield businesses, community growing greater together

The Chamber recently held its annual meeting that featured this year’s “Dream Big” theme for the Greater Springfield community, “Growing Greater Together!” This past year, the Chamber continued to stand in the gap and take on area challenges while seeking to help innovate and build a better sense of place for area businesses...
Enon’s 40-foot tall mound is second largest in Ohio
Enon’s 40-foot tall mound is second largest in Ohio

The second tallest mound in Ohio is in downtown Enon, with Miamisburg Mound being the tallest. These two mounds are 35 miles apart. Enon’s is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the village. The mound is 40 feet tall. In the late 1800s, the mound was set in a circle of Osage and was tree crowned. The Enon Community...
Change in weather pattern to bring major warm-up for the region
Change in weather pattern to bring major warm-up for the region

The jet stream, which typically divides areas of colder and warmer air, is forecast to shift north of the Miami Valley by the end of the week -- and that means a warm-up for the region.  Highs are expected to climb into the 50s on Thursday -- more seasonable levels -- and then hit near 70 this weekend. That will be a noticeable change from Wednesday...
More Stories