Donald Trump divulged his plan this weekend to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, promising to give veterans more modern and lower-cost services while allowing opt ins for private health care providers.
With the USS Wisconsin serving as the backdrop and surrounded by veterans, Trump pledged that he would “cut down wait times, rein in bureaucracy and put the VA’s health care centers in competition with private health care providers.”
“Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care,” Trump said during his speech. “Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it.”
Trump said under his presidency, veterans would be able to use their ID card to “get care immediately” at any private provider that accepts Medicare. He claimed that his plan would be more effective and “cost us less money.” “They have earned the freedom to choose,” Trump proclaimed.
In addition to health care improvements, Trump talked up other proposals to assist returning veterans, including providing incentives for companies to hire veterans and making business loans more easily obtainable. Such changes would ensure a more seamless transition to civilian life for veterans.
Praising veterans while at the same time neglecting their treatment, ignoring their transition back into society and generally showing complete ambivalence over whether they live or die is a bi-partisan policy – one of the few policies both Republicans and Democrats agree with each other on. It took a political outsider like Trump to actually bring such a discussion into the open.