Jeb Bush vows to improve health care for veterans, through privatization
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The Concerned Veterans for America non-partisan, non-profit group hosted a “Defend and Reform” town hall at Seawell’s in Columbia Monday night. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush headlined the event, after announcing his plans for veterans earlier in Charleston. Like his overall goal for Washington, D.C., Bush says a smaller, reformed Department of Veterans Affairs is how he will improve veterans’ care. South Carolina veterans at the town hall identified health care as a top priority. Bush says the V.A. has plenty of money and manpower. “This is not a resource issue,” he says, “but it’s now a systemic problem that needs to be fixed.” In his veterans’ health care plan, Bush pushes for more privatization. “Why not give veterans the same choices that we take for granted?” he asks. As part of cleaning-up the V.A., the former Florida governor wants to hold government workers more accountable in the wake of last year’s scandals. “Pay them when they do a good job, but when they don’t they need to be fired,” Bush says. He wants to make it easier to cut under-performing employees, while reversing cuts made to military personnel. When asked how he plans to make the U.S. military great again, Bush had a very clear answer. “End this mindless sequester idea and prioritize our spending toward the number one priority, which is to keep us safe,” he says. “That’s the job that we ask Washington to do.” That includes spending that money more strategically, he says. “That is the first priority of government, and I pledge to you, that will be the first priority of my administration.” Bush also talked about how he will expand services within the V-A, geared toward women. He called the system, “male-centric,” and says that no longer reflects the state of U.S. armed forces.