While the Wisconsin Republican says he has met many dedicated staff members at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics here in the state, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) believes the widening scandal nationwide is another example of what happens when government runs health care.
The VA is under intense scrutiny, amidst reports showing veterans often faced long delays in receiving care, which resulted in some people dying while waiting for treatment. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned late last week because of the growing scandal.
The scandal has many federal lawmakers calling for reforms, but Johnson questions if it’s the right answer. “I’m not even sure you can fix a government-run health care system,” Johnson says. Instead, he argues the federal government should be looking at ways to give veterans more flexibility in determining their own care and who provides it. “If they are experiencing wait times that are simply too long, if they have too far to travel to visit a VA facility, we ought to give them the flexibility to access the private health care system,” Johnson says.
Johnson says it’s not an issue of inadequate funding, but of bureaucracy weighing down decisions about care. He says the citizens of Wisconsin should see this as another reason to be concerned about the “path we’re on with Obamacare.”
Affiliate WRDN contributed to this report.