Doug Jones and Bradley Byrne talk VA overhaul
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
If you or a loved one is a veteran dealing with the VA. You know how difficult it can be to get attention especially when you really need it. A Veterans Choice program could be back on the table.
Congressman Bradly Byrne says he supports the bold change, short of getting rid of the troubled Veterans Administration.
There will be changes at the VA, namely a new secretary, and the president has some good reasons. Some say it would be privatizing the VA - overhauling the flawed program veterans now use for medical care.
"The first thing I want to do is give a choice card, a true choice card, to every veteran so they can use that card to go get their health care from whomever they want, whenever they want and however they want," said Byrne.
This past week President Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin has been an outspoken critic of what he perceives as "privatizing the VA."
"I wasn't willing to do that. I don't think that's the right thing for veterans and I stood up against them," said Shulkin in Washington this week.
"He's wrong that is completely wrong we are giving people options we are giving them choices and these are people, these veterans that are entitled to these benefits," said Byrne.
Vietnam veteran Silas Jackson came to see congressman Byrne at an Easter event in mobile today. He says his VA benefits have been cut and sometimes ignored - "something's got to change" - he says.
"I've had four heart attacks yeah from agent orange and here it is they are lollygagging around. I filed my benefits in 1977 when I first come home," said Jackson.
Byrne says changing the VA is not a money issue, saying congress appropriates every penny into the VA asked for every year.
President Trump has now nominated White House physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson for the VA spot.
Senator Doug Jones, also in Mobile Friday, says the VA needs an overhaul but the move has to be cautious.
"There are a lot of questions about the president's nominee. I think the jury is out on that right now- his experience and whether he's got what it takes to do the kind of things necessary to give our veterans the benefits that they want but we'll see," said Jones.
Coming here today was important for someone like Silas Jackson, he too will give all the politicians the benefit of doubt.
"We'll see that’s all I’m saying we'll see because I understand he's a politician and he's going to make things sound good but we'll see," said Jackson.
On NBC 15 News at 6