News Release

Will Former CEO Push to Privatize VA?

Fox News reports: “President Obama plans to nominate former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, sources confirm to Fox News.

“The president is expected to make the announcement on Monday. The nomination comes on the heels of a critical White House report which cited a ‘corrosive culture’ at the department that has come under fire for making veterans endure long wait times while misrepresenting their own internal numbers.

“‘If confirmed by the Senate, Robert McDonald will inherit a Department of Veterans Affairs under a specter of corruption that may very well surpass anything in the history of American government,’ House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said in a statement.”

SUZANNE GORDON, sg at suzannegordon.com
Co-editor of the “Culture and Politics of Healthcare Work” series at Cornell University Press, Gordon’s latest book is Beyond the Checklist: What Else Health Care Has to Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety. She recently wrote the piece, “Privatization won’t fix the VA,” in which she said, “Because the VA is a public entity, its facilities actually display greater accountability — and more transparency to patients and their families — than private health care systems. When veterans have a VA-related beef — or in-house whistle-blowers a tale to tell — they are quick to notify their elected representatives. Such complaints regularly trigger individual constituent service queries from members of Congress or, as is the case today, oversight hearings by House and Senate committees. (Good luck triggering a similar rapid response to patient or staff complaints in the private sector.)”

MATT HOWARD, media at ivaw.org, @ivaw
Howard is communications director for Iraq Veterans Against the War. He said today, “The announcement of new leadership in the VA will be a band-aid fix for a much larger problem. We aren’t going to be able to get to the bottom of this if we don’t begin to grapple with the military’s role in providing deeply substandard healthcare to service members through practices such as deploying soldiers against doctors orders, sending them to combat with prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, and kicking service members out for exhibiting signs of trauma.”

See IVAW report on Fort Hood.