Congress calls for "transparency" after VA scandal - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Congress calls for "transparency" after VA scandal

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJRT) - (06/03/14) - Transparency. That is what U.S. Senators are calling for, in the wake of the VA Hospital Scandal. Now, there are at least four plans floating around Capitol Hill to reach that goal.

“It's unacceptable how long the wait times are,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). "Outrageous that they are actually hiding it, which is fraud.”

Senate Republicans, like Portman, are pushing for a reform plan called the VA Management Accountability Act.

“It simply allows the secretary and his top management to hire and fire people more easily,” Portman said.

Portman also said he supported the recent resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, but some of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle did not.

Colleagues like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“The resignation or the firing of the secretary of the VA doesn’t change things dramatically,” Brown said. “I know that the president did what he did and Shinseki did what he did. I admire him and respect him and I am not gonna dance on anybody’s grave.”

Brown defends the work done at VA hospitals around the country, but says he still wants accountability. So, he’s signed on to a plan that differs from his Republican colleague's; Brown supports the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act.

“This is a healthcare system (that) overwhelming provides good health care,” Brown said. “We just need to make sure that the people running the VA are more responsive and more accountable for what they do.”

On Tuesday, Senator John McCain led a group touting the Veterans Choice Act - another piece of legislation aimed at fixing the urgent concerns in the VA. This bill is about choice, transparency and change. It would allow veterans who are limited geographically or on wait lists, to seek care with private doctors.

That's a concept that is also inside yet another bill, sponsored by the chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The exact details of that bill are expected to be released later this week.

If you're a veteran and want to share your story, you can visit stabenow.senate.gov or levin.senate.gov - or call Senator Stabenow's DC office at 202-224-4822 or Senator Levin's DC office at 202-224-6221.
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