COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The most important part of a new health care bill for veterans passed by Congress is a provision that gives administrators the ability to fire poorly performing executives, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday.
Graham said he has confidence that new Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald can shorten wait times and improve the quality of care for veterans, but only if he gets rid of the people who have caused problems in the VA hospitals and clinics.
"If nobody gets fired, we're going to be right back here dealing with the problem," said Graham, R-S.C.
Graham also praised other parts of the $17 billion bill that passed Congress last week with bipartisan support and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama this week. The money will hire more doctors and nurses, but Graham said just as important in a rural state with a lot of veterans is the new Veterans Choice Card, which allows veterans to get care from a nearby private doctor if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility or aren't given an appointment for care within 30 days.
Graham was joined by South Carolina Adjutant General Robert Livingston, who thanks him for his support of the bill.
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