Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Chair of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement after U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald compared wait lines for VA health care to Disney.
“When you go to Disney, you aren’t wondering if you’re going to live long enough to make it to Space Mountain,” said McMorris Rodgers. “You aren’t concerned for your health, your parents’ wellbeing, or your buddy’s safety. Our servicemen and women have died while waiting in lines. And with 18 percent of appointment cancellations going unfilled, we can do better.”
Note: On January 8, 2016, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Faster Care for Veterans Act (H.R. 4352), a bill that requires the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to commence a pilot program which incorporates commercially available self-scheduling technologies at VA medical facilities.
In January, McMorris Rodgers and Moulton spoke to Stars and Stripes about the inspiration for the legislation, and how this proposal would be more efficient and affordable than agency-proposed alternatives. Later that month, McMorris Rodgers talked with Sheila Hagar of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin about how the bill empowers veterans while giving VA employees more tools to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
In March, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s subcommittee on Information Technology, chaired by Representative Will Hurd (R-TX), held a hearing that highlighted the need for the VA to modernize its scheduling system.
And in an op-ed published on The Washington Post’s “Power Post” on April 26, McMorris Rodgers called for a “a commonsense, 21st Century veterans’ health care system” that “treats our veterans with dignity and respect, and ensures our heroes’ sacrifices don’t continue after their tours end.”