GOP governors to Obama: VA demands 'immediate' attention

Six Republican governors sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday demanding immediate reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs and suggesting a number of state-based changes. 

The resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki last week is only the first step, the governors wrote. 

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"Reports from states around the country of wait times in a system manipulated by VA leaders to hide the growing problems are not only inexcusable, they demand your immediate and full attention," the letter reads. "Serious reform on behalf of our veterans will require much more than a change in management."

At least two potential 2016 GOP candidates for president, Rick Perry (Texas) and Bobby Jindal (La.), signed onto the letter. 

Each of the other four governors is up for reelection in 2014 and mostly in competitive states. They are: Tom Corbett (Pa.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Paul LePage (Maine) and Sam Brownback (Kansas).

The governors recommended three actions: more leeway for state officials to inspect VA facilities, the end of the current bonus system and expanded care at private facilities. 

House GOP leadership made similar grievances in a separate letter sent to Obama earlier in the day. 

The governors proposed allowing veterans who cannot get in to see a doctor within 30 days to be provided a federal voucher to seek care at a private provider. 

The VA has expressed a willingness for more private care. When officials cannot increase capacity at VA centers, veterans would be able to seek treatment through private facilities, the department announced last month. 

The governors also proposed suspending the Veterans Health Administration Bonus System, and instead releasing those funds as block grants to the states.

The interim inspector general report last week found that understating veterans' wait times made the Phoenix facility look better, which is a factor "considered for awards and salary increases."

The governors also proposed allowing states to partner with the department to make sure accountability is maintained. Scott noted that trained inspectors for the state were turned away from VA facilities in Florida after reports of mismanagement. 

"It is clear that a system for significant oversight is nonexistent," the governors wrote.