House VA chairman asks Obama to create medical care panel

 

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) called on President Obama Tuesday to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate reported lapses in veterans' access to medical care.

"For nearly a year, we have been pleading with top Department of Veterans Affairs leaders and the president to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks," Miller wrote in a statement Tuesday.

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VA clinics in multiple states have faced allegations that appointment wait lists were manipulated to obscure long wait times, resulting in patient deaths.

"In response, we’ve received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA," Miller wrote.

He said the president is now faced with a "stark choice" to take immediate action to help "end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and American veterans why we should tolerate the status quo."

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee on Thursday, is facing calls to resign from several lawmakers and the American Legion.

Miller has said he is waiting for the results of VA investigations into the allegations before taking that step.

“Judging by the throngs of veterans, families and whistleblowers who keep courageously stepping forward, VA’s delays in care problem is growing in size and scope by the day. That’s why I am asking for President Obama’s personal involvement in helping fix this crisis," said Miller.