Army Vet Amber Barno: Pros and Cons to VA Bill

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 02:16 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The bipartisan measure aimed at fixing the problems in the Veterans Administration being negotiated by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida has pros and cons, says former Army helicopter pilot Amber Barno. 

"The two positive things out of the bill is the accountability part, and that veterans are going to be able to seek privatized healthcare if they have an appointment time that's outside of the 30-day window or a 40-mile radius from a VA facility," Barno said on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" on Tuesday.

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"That part of it is great, that veterans will have that option when the VA is lacking performance with their appointment times or locations for facilities," she said.

However, the Iraq war veteran said that what she doesn't like "is the stipulation involved that it only applies to veterans who are enrolled in the healthcare system by Aug. 1 of 2014."

"So, there's this stipulation that says, 'If you've had to deal with the problematic part of the VA, then OK, you can now have this good part of the VA bill that's going to be passed,'" Barno said.

But those who were hesitant to use the VA system for healthcare in the past because of rumors about "how terrible it was . . . aren't going to be eligible for this privatized healthcare option."

Barno said the part of the measure that is "absolutely necessary" is the authority it would give the VA secretary to fire executives.

"The VA doesn't have a funding problem, it has a culture problem," she said. "Part of that is not being able to fire those infected leaders, those corrupt managers who are making very poor decisions."

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