U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson told a room full of veterans that one way to clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system is to get the “moochers” out of it.
The Troy Republican and Army veteran spoke with the Concerned Veterans for America at a town hall event Monday evening in West Chester Twp.
“Just like workers comp out here’s got moochers, I wish that there were no vets that were the same sort of problem on our society,” said Davidson. “But part of the problem is there are some vets that are moochers and they’re clogging up the system. And we do as taxpayers want to make sure the VA filters out these folks that are pretenders. Just like we wish there were no people out there with stolen valor, but that’s a problem in the vet community too.”
While several topics were discussed at the town hall, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was one topic the freshman congressman spoke about at length, including his new bill that he campaigned on during his run for election.
Last week Davidson introduced the Lead by Example bill that would require members of Congress, the Senate and their staffers to switch their health care to the VA system by January 2019.
“One of the best ways to reform the VA is consistent scrutiny, consistent oversight,” Davidson said.
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While there is a committee to provide oversight for the VA in Congress, Davidson suggested, “why not have everyone in Congress — senators, congressmen, staff members — everywhere across the country dealing with the VA.”
Davidson said U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is “showing progress” two years into his tenure and “we’re all in the country rooting for him.”
However, Davidson said there’s not enough success in transforming the VA system that some have criticized for taking too long to pay claims.
“There’s a lot of frustration, too little to show for it,” Davidson said.
Davidson said changing to a new VA secretary will only delay things further, which is why he said “there’s been a lot of will in Congress to support him.”
During the American Legion National Convention in Cincinnati at the end of August, McDonald said he disagreed with a notion that the VA is broken.
“We have challenges, yes. But VA can be transformed,” he said last month.
Steven Fought, the Democrat challenging Davidson this November for his 8th Congressional District seat, said not only is McDonald, the former CEO of Proctor & Gamble, the “right man for the job,” but the VA system is only one part of a greater issue.
“We’re all in the same boat when it comes to a health care system that needs to be addressed,” said Fought, who worked 17 years as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C.
He said the Affordable Care Act may have made health care more accessible, but it wasn’t designed to address cost containment which is why rates are increasing.
But Fought said “the most obvious problems that plague the system” are things like unacceptable wait times. He said the choice plans are good, but need to be improved because right now the VA is sending veterans into a “challenged” system.
“We have to make a commitment of this country for more competitive health care,” he said.