Calling for an "equality of desire from both sides of the aisle," Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., said Democrats need to stop politicizing the push to reduce veterans' healthcare wait times as mere "rhetoric" of "privatizing" Veterans Affairs.
"[Veterans need] more options in getting these wait times down," Taylor told Fox News' "Your World" on Monday. "There should be an equality of desire by both sides of the aisle to get this done. I don't think we're 'privatizing the V.A.,' which has been a political thing."
Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, helped push the veterans' healthcare expansion legislation that passed the Senate this week,and he hopes Democrats will support U.S. veterans by ending the resistance to permitting private healthcare options, because "more private options, private partnerships is a good thing rather than a bad thing."
"I hope to we're going win a majority – if for some reason that we don't – I think that [Democrats'] rhetoric of privatizing the VA will be downplayed [and] they won't be saying it anymore," Taylor told fill-in host Trish Regan. "But it's important that veteran service organizations and veterans are pressuring to make sure this is implemented [and] to make sure there's proper oversight to get it done.
"There's an equality of desire to reduce the wait times and take care of our veterans."
The bill gives the VA one year to implement the programs in its "very big bureaucracy" that you "can spend a career trying to fix," according to Taylor, who is more hopeful than confident everything will get done as planned in a year.
"We need a whole culture change in customer service — we need to be customer service-oriented inside the VA for veterans," Taylor told Regan. "I know that there's a lot of politics going on, like on the left they're like 'OK, you're privatizing the VA.'
"Let me get it very clear what my position is: It is the duty and the responsibility of the government to care for our veterans when they come back; however, there should be more private options out there. There's parts of the country that need the private sector to supplement the VA and/or compete in some areas. There's some areas that, quite frankly, that need the VA to help them in their private care."
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