During the campaign, Republican Donald Trump consistently gave American veterans the respect, importance and dignity they deserve but which the Obama administration and its failed bureaucracy denied them of. Trump promised to make the Veterans Affairs Department great again by introducing much-needed reforms. With barely three weeks before he takes oath as the 45th President of the U.S., Trump and his transition team are all set to fulfill his promise for the vets.
One of Trump's campaign promise was to give veterans the option to seek medical treatment and care at the VA or at a private service provider of their choice, and now his team is looking to fulfill this through a "public-private option".
In 2014, the VA was rocked by one of the biggest and shameful scandals in its history when whistleblowers exposed how the government falsified data to hide how long veterans were waiting just to see doctors at VA hospitals, with a number of vets even reported to have died while waiting. Trump came out with his 10-point agenda during the campaign for the benefit of the vets promising them " no more long drives, no more waiting backlogs, no more excessive red tape", in turn, " just the care and support they earned with their service to our country."
One of the solutions seen to end vets' medical-related woes was to allow vets to seek treatment and care from private hospitals and doctors. The Trump transition team, however, concedes that there may still be a number of vets who love the VA and who may still prefer to go there for their medical needs, and so the better solution is to give them the option whether to seek public or private medical attention. The Trump team also acknowledged that under the federal government system, " it's hard to break things up and start over".
Trump is also considering the possibility of creating an advisory committee to assist him in navigating the VA reform process.
After the huge VA scandal broke out in 2014, Congress quickly passed bipartisan legislation that created a 2-year pilot program that would permit vets to seek private medical care under the following circumstances: if they live far from the VA hospital, could not secure an appointment in a timely manner, or had a condition which required specialists that the closest VA hospital lacked. But the recent years have seen the VA and some Democrats resisting efforts for a choice program expansion arguing that such efforts may lead to the eventual privatization of the VA.
Whether by private or public medical treatment, facility and doctors, what is important in the end is to fulfill Trump's campaign plea that " no vet will die waiting for ( medical) service".