House Speaker John Boehner called for the privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs decades ago, and he still thinks it's a good idea today.
Speaking with the Columbus Dispatch on Friday, the Ohio Republican said that giving wounded warriors an outside option may worth pursuing in light of the recent scandal over allegations that delayed treatment at the VA may have led up to 40 deaths.
“I still like the idea, and especially now,” he said. But he added that “until we understand what’s happening and until we understand whether it can be fixed or how it can be fixed, all veterans seeking care shouldn’t have to wait.”
Calling the VA's problems "systemic," Boehner also explained why he stopped short of calling for the resignation of embattled Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“The reason I threw cold water on the idea is, it’d be the easy way out to get rid of the secretary,” he said. “He’d resign, we’d wait for months and months, someone else would be nominated, then cleared, then they’re brand new, and I think it just takes people’s eye off getting to the bottom of the problems.”
Privatizing veterans' health care was also an idea floated by Mitt Romney during the 2012 Republican presidential campaign.
Read the entire Dispatch interview with Boehner here.