fill out a 23-page claim to get care or wait months, even years, to get an appointment at the VA. Any misconduct, whether it's allegations of a VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the... See More
fill out a 23-page claim to get care or wait months, even years, to get an appointment at the VA. Any misconduct, whether it's allegations of a VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books I will not stand for it. President Obama, then and now, talking about problems at the VA. Let's bring in the roundtable, former senior white house advisor, David Plouffe, Ana Navarro and ABC's Matthew dowd. Welcome to everybody. Matt, I want to start with you, I know this is personal for you, your two brothers and your son are veterans. Did the president handle this correctly? Well, I thought throughout this, there is a quote -- the degree of civilization in our society can be judged by entering our prisons. I think I would like to update that the degree of civilization in our society should be how we deal with veterans. I think the president -- I think he has good intentions. I think his intentions have been good. I think he Reese done some improvements in all of this. But the way veterans are treated today in this country is unconscionable. We have a health care problem, obviously, in the course of this investigation and now, we also have homeless. The number of veterans, the thousands of veterans that are homeless in this country. Take a look at this, the number one thing is, we have to quit fighting long wars. That seem without end. That's what's driving this. We have been in a war longer than ten years.) The other thing is, there are some things that the government doesn't do well and efficiently. One of those things, as we have learned over the last 30, 40 years, the VA system has never been efficient. Let's talk about how the president has handled this. It took him almost four weeks to come out and talk about this. I want to pick up on something that Matt said, there have been a lot of improvements. I mean, the president talked about this a lot in '08. I was on the campaign trail with him. If you look at the effort with the private sector to hire veterans -- They keep talking about those veterans. There are 40 people who allegedly died during waiting for care. The president the other day said that he didn't know if there was a link with that. Should the president have been out there sooner? I don't think so. In a lot of places -- we have to look at what happened in Phoenix. If there are other places that this is happening. There's going to be a thorough investigation. Do you have confidence in the leadership? Matthew raises other broad points. One of the great things to see our private sector step up, they have hired almost 1 million veterans. Should shinseki resign, Ana? I think shinseki should resign or be fired. This is not a scandal that involves political conspiracy, this is a scandal that touches all of us. You're seeing democrats coming out and calling for shinseki's resignation. You're seeing democrats comes out and being critical. Because the president made it a big focus of the 2008 campaign, he knew there were problems, and when you take a look at it, it's a problem of incompetence, it's a problem of being asleep at the wheel. It's a problem of lack of leadership and governance. Yes, it's a big problem that falls right on his lap. I think this can't be where the president has words. I think there needs to be actions. And in this case -- in Washington, something goes wrong, someone's head has to roll in order to make it right. But this is a sort of structural problem within the VA. People believe making secret wait lists is okay and is the right thing to do. I mean, structurally, what reforms can you make to the VA? Slow to the idea of privatizing the VA, is that an idea? They have to have some better hybrid think, veterans, specific injuries, the reason why the VA was created, because there are certain injuries dealt with certain type of health care. There should be a hybrid system where veterans don't have to wait in line. My older brother likes the service he gets when he goes to the VA. The problem is I he has to wait too long to get in. There was a very interesting piece in "The New York times" yesterday by the whistle blower in this case, Sam Foote, a doctor that worked at the VA for 48 years. He's recommending a hybrid-type system. That's who I would like to be involved in an investigation of the VA. The guy who has been writing letters. The VA is using data and technology, they could clearly use more. But, listen, I think -- most people would agree the VA needs more funding. This republican congress won't fund that. They'll fund tax breaks for oil companies. David, you know it's a personal problem. Okay, thanks to you all. But before we go to our break, our powerhouse puzzler.
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