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Jeb Bush Unveils VA Reform Plan

Jeb Bush Unveils VA Reform Plan
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By    |   Monday, 17 August 2015 12:29 PM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday is releasing a new policy plan for Veteran Affairs reform in a bid to position himself as the standard-bearer on the issue, the Military Times reported.

The proposal will expand choice for care outside the VA while at the same time maintaining funding levels for department hospitals and medical staff. He intends to fund the plan through "cutting excess administrators (not caregivers)" and eliminating "billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse" and also by creating more competitive bidding for department contracts while firing underperforming employees.

"Ample resources exist within the VA budget to improve the quality and scope of care," the proposal says. "In other government agencies, common-sense reforms have saved billions. The VA must get its house in order and send savings into improving veteran choice and veteran care."

The plan also promises better online healthcare access systems for veterans on the premise that existing systems are too cumbersome and outdated, the Times reported.

Officials from the VA have already promised similar improvements but Bush criticized the culture within the department, saying it has "failed to adapt as quickly as it should to technological advances."

The plan includes a range of other proposals.

Bush has endorsed plans for the creation of veteran entrepreneurs to take advantage of the benefits of the GI Bill to insure small business loans.

He has also pledged to have a stronger focus on care for female veterans, while rolling back President Barack Obama's plans to cut military end strength by up to 190,000 personnel over the next four years, according to the Times.

And he plans to use "the bully pulpit of a national election and his presidency to honor the service and character of America's veterans," adding that their contributions and sacrifice are too often overlooked.

The plan will likely draw praise from veterans groups, the Times said, mainly because he is making a commitment to veterans issues at a time when few other candidates have elevated those issues to their campaign agendas.

According to the Times, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America noted before the GOP debate that just three of the top 10 Republicans had issued a policy platform that addressed veterans.

Bush's proposal comes in advance of a campaign appearance with Concerned Veterans for America in South Carolina.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday is releasing a new policy plan for Veteran Affairs reform in a bid to position himself as the standard-bearer on the issue, the Military Times reported.
jeb, veterans, plan, va, healthcare, small business
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2015-29-17
Monday, 17 August 2015 12:29 PM
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