Jeb Bush on the Veterans Administration

This release from SC Democrats reminded me of the Jeb Bush event I attended Monday evening:

SC Dems: “Jeb Bush’s Plan to Privatize Veterans Health Care Services Would Be a Disaster
Columbia, SC—The South Carolina Democratic Party released a statement from Beaufort County Democratic Party Chair and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Blaine Lotz regarding former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush campaigning in the Palmetto State today.
“Jeb Bush’s plan to privatize veterans’ health care services would be a disaster for South Carolina veterans. As Governor of Florida, Bush proposed a similar plan that was so disastrous, it was replaced shortly after he left office. Jeb Bush continues to support outdated policies that prove as President, he would look out for his wealthy donors and special interests over our veterans and military families.”



What are they talking about?

Well, Bush had released several proposals with regard to veterans’ benefits on Monday, in advance of the Concerned Veterans for America event I attended over at Seawell’s. (I went basically to take my Dad there, who as a veteran was invited. We didn’t stay for all of it, which is one reason I didn’t write about it before now.) Here’s how Military Times described the proposals, in part:

Bush’s VA reform plan, to be unveiled later today in advance of an appearance with Concerned Veterans for America in South Carolina tonight, includes expanding “choice” options for care outside the department without cutting funding for VA hospitals and medical staff.

Instead, he promises that extra funds can be found through “cutting excess administrators (not caregivers)” and eliminating “billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse.” That includes more competitive bidding for department contracts and firing poorly performing employees.

“Ample resources exist within the VA budget to improve the quality and scope of care,” Bush’s policy paper states. “In other government agencies, common-sense reforms have saved billions. The VA must get its house in order and send savings into improving veteran choice and veteran care.”

He’s also promising better online health care access systems for veterans, calling existing offerings too cumbersome and outdated….

The video clip above shows him talking about his proposals — not in any detail. I just share it to give you some flavor of the event…

Bush speaking to veterans. For those of you who notice such things, Sen. John Courson is in the red shirt on the left-hand side of the image; Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is seen at the extreme right. McMaster is backing Lindsey Graham; I don't know where Courson stands.

Bush speaking to veterans. For those of you who notice such things, Sen. John Courson is in the Marine Corps red shirt on the left-hand side of the image; Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is seen at the extreme right. McMaster is backing Lindsey Graham; I don’t know where Courson stands.

23 thoughts on “Jeb Bush on the Veterans Administration

  1. Doug Ross

    “eliminating “billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse.”

    Why is it that the waste, fraud, and abuse can’t be eliminated NOW instead of waiting for whatever
    b.s. program a politician is proposing? Obama used this same phony justification of his programs back when he was running. What happened to eliminating all of that?

    Funny how when I say the government is burdened with waste, fraud, and abuse I’m labelled a cynic.

    1. Barry

      It can’t be eliminated now because there aren’t enough people in the right positions that care to eliminate it.

      Just like the report I read yesterday about the over 25,000 public housing tenants that HUD’s own audit showed made too much money to actually live in public housing. One New York family made almost $500,000 a year working full time jobs and was living in public housing that tax-payers help fund.

      HUD has no plans to move them out. Why? Because they really don’t care.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Way to unfairly malign 5 million people, a huge percentage of whom went into government service rather than join the money chase in the private sector because they wanted to serve their country.

          They do NOT deserve your careless scorn, Doug.

        2. bud

          Right Doug. Tell that to the firefighters when they show up at your house to put out a fire. Tell that to the police officer who is trying to apprehend dangerous criminals. Tell that to all the hard working teachers who are toiling away teaching children how to read and write. Tell that to the highway maintenance folks who patch holes in dangerous situations in order to keep the roads functional. Frankly I’ve had to put up with more crap from private businesses lately trying to get trees cut down and appliances repaired, cell phones to work, tvs to function and a whole host of other exasperating dealings with the free market to appreciate just how valuable government service can be. And don’t even get me started all the upselling at fast food restaurants or telemarketers or new car buying. The list goes on and on. And don’t fall back on that age old libertarian retort about voting with my feet and seeking others to do business with. It just isn’t that simple.

          For every example of some type of problem you’ve encountered with a government service I can come up with 10 that have caused me headaches with private companies. So get off your high horse and try to say something positive for a change about government workers. Go visit the DMV or the Post Office some time then report back with what you find. I bet your experience will be much better than most of my dealings with the horrors of the free market.

          1. Doug Ross

            If the VA was a private entity, it would have gone out of business decades ago. Because there is no government accountability, it can go on forever.

  2. Bill

    My brother-in-law,who was a Vietnam vet,and died last year,would travel from Florida to SC to get help from the VA…I wouldn’t trust JB to get anybody’s business straight…

    1. Barry

      Too bad we don’t have a program where, under specific circumstances, he could have went to any number of doctors/clinics of his choice near his home instead of having to come all the way to South Carolina.

      The VA system has been broken a long time for various reasons (fraud, abuse). No one seems able to fix it.

      1. Bill

        My sister gets extra benefits since he was exposed to Agent Orange.He and I were good buddies.Last baseball game,we both knew he was over;understood and unspoken.

  3. Burl Burlingame

    The Republicans real religion is privatization — they can’t stand it when someone can’t make a profit from providing government services.

    1. Barry

      Profit can be quite valuable incentive under the right circumstances- versus having no real incentive to improve.

      As a former government employee, I’ve seen the good- and I’ve seen the bad.

    2. Pat

      I’m with you there, Burl. Some things can be privatized, like the building of aircraft and roads – if the proper cost containment clauses are put into place and if the contractors are properly vetted. Food services (as were some other services) contracted for the military in war zones were a joke.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        You know what really gets me? Privatized prisons. If the state is going to go the extraordinary step of taking a man’s freedom away, it has an obligation to run the place where he will be kept.

        It takes our mania for putting away far too many people, and squares it, by outsourcing their custody: Voila! Society has completely washed its hands of that person…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, Burl, and the one such trend I’ve devoted the most energy to resisting over the years is the one that aims to take resources away from public education and give them to the private sector.

      I mention prisons because they’re so easy not to care about. Too many people want prisoners out of sight and out of mind permanently — and what better way to sweep them under the rug, abdicating collective responsibility for them, than privatizing prisons?

      But if, by “privatized public schools” you mean to decry charter schools, I disagree. I think they have a place in the mix, as laboratories for new methods and approaches.

      All of my kids graduated from public schools, although (like me) some of them spent parts of their school careers in private schools (in their case, Catholic). Two of them spent some time at those elite public schools, the governor’s schools in Hartsville and Greenville. My youngest graduated from a public high school in Pennsylvania (where she was undergoing intensive training in ballet), the rest in South Carolina.

      But one of my five grandchildren attends a charter school, a Chinese-immersion school in West Columbia. Her parents scraped to come up with the money to send her to 4K there, and now she’s in 5K, which is free since it is technically a public school. Some of her classes, including arithmetic, are conducted in Mandarin — she started the year already able to count to 100 in that language.

      She’s a very smart girl, and this keeps her challenged — and opens those neural connections that only learning multiple languages can open. It seems to be a good fit for her. (Although she’s already complaining that there are no science classes — in kindergarten.)

      As I’ve always believed, there is room for these kinds of schools in the public mix…

      1. Pat

        I think the problem I see with privatized schools is that the far-right/libertarian stated goal is to do away with public schools altogether which will pretty much leave the poor and disabled out in the cold. The poor and disabled still won’t have choices because they will be limited by geography, transportation, and money. The other thing about privatized k-12 education that I’ve seen in my past research is the investors in the private businesses offering the educational resources, whether online or brick-and-mortar, are the very people lobbying for privatization.


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