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Friday, May 30, 2014

Barletta on VA Scandal

Barletta Statement Resignation of Secretary Shinseki
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki following a meeting with President Obama at the White House.  The resignation comes on the heels of an Inspector General’s report that found that 1,700 veterans were kept on unofficial waiting lists at a Phoenix VA hospital and waited an average of 115 days for treatment.  Additionally, the report found that information was manipulated to conceal the length of time patients waited for medical attention.  The report also found the problem to be systemic and not limited to the Phoenix facility.  At least forty veterans are reported to have died while waiting for treatment.
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“I have always believed that cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the president, and in this case President Obama clearly felt that Secretary Shinseki could no longer adequately lead an agency that has suffered such a scandal and loss of public confidence.  I thank General Shinseki for his long and distinguished career in service to his country.  I also note that this is one event in this sad affair that the president will not have to learn about from the news media.
“The deplorable treatment of veterans at VA medical facilities is something that no American should tolerate.  The Inspector General’s report is yet more evidence that the problem is systemic, widespread, and certainly not limited to one hospital in Phoenix.  I continue to believe that a Department of Justice investigation is warranted to determine the full scope of the flaws and to identify responsible parties.
“In the House, we have already taken steps toward reforming the VA with the bipartisan passage of a measure that would give the secretary greater latitude in removing senior officials in the agency.  I wish the Senate would follow our lead.  In the meantime, there are a number of proposals being offered to improve the VA and its service to veterans and I am eager to examine each one on its own merits.  At the very least, this pokes a very large hole in the belief that government is the first and best solution to health care needs.”

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