Ocasio-Cortez defends VA healthcare to veterans: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – Washington Examiner

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., defended the treatment of veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs during a town hall event in her district last week.

The freshman congresswoman said privatization of the VA will not help veterans because of the “for-profit healthcare industry.”

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Ocasio-Cortez, 29, said, insisting the VA provides “some of the highest quality” healthcare for veterans. She said people who advocate for a privatized VA are only trying to fix it in favor of pharmaceutical companies.

“Here’s the thing, they are trying to fix it. But who are they are trying to fix it for, is the question we gotta ask …They are trying to fix the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they are trying to fix the VA for insurance corporations, and, ultimately, they are trying to fix the VA for a for-profit healthcare industry that does not put people or veterans first,” she said.

Because people are trying to privatize the VA, Ocasio-Cortez said, “We have a responsibility to protect it.”

Calls to privatize the VA were heightened after news broke of secret waiting lists, which delayed many veterans’ care, in 2014. For instance, CNN reported at least 40 people died waiting for time-sensitive care because of the lists at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system.

The Nation reported the socialist Democrat said the main problem with the department is that it is understaffed.

“If we really want to fix the VA so badly, let’s start hiring, and fill up some of those 49,000 [staff] vacancies,” she said, adding the VA would be a blueprint if “Medicare for all” were to pass: “If you ask me, I would like VA for all.”


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