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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Shinseki steps down

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday after publicly apologizing for systemic problems plaguing the agency’s health care system.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the retired four-star general’s resignation “with considerable regret” during an Oval Office meeting. Shinseki had been facing mounting calls to step down from lawmakers in both parties since a scathing internal report out Wednesday found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.

What can be done to fix the terribly troubled VA system?

Today’s video: Murray presses VA officials

 

Sen. Patty Murray tried to get answers Thursday from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and other VA officials on longstanding reports of problems in their system.

They didn't have much. . . 

Obama statement on VA Health benefits

Here’s the official White House statement sending a proposal to change VA health benefits to the round file.

You know, the Deep Six, the 86, the kybosh. Sounds like this SNAFU was FUBAR. Whatever, It’s toast.

Statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the President’s Strong Commitment to America’s Veterans:

 The President has consistently stated that he is committed to working with veterans on the details of the 2010 VA Budget Proposal. The President demonstrated his deep commitment to veterans by proposing the largest increase in the VA budget in 30 years and calling VSO and MSO leaders into the White House for an unprecedented meeting to discuss various aspects of the budget proposal. In considering the third party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans; however, the President listened to concerns raised by the VSOs that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families’ ability to access health care. Therefore, the President has instructed that its consideration be dropped. The President wants to continue a constructive partnership with the VSOs and MSOs and is grateful to those VSOs and MSOs who have worked in good faith with him on the budget proposal.

Obama on VA health changes: Never Mind

The Obama Administration is dropping a proposal that would have allowed the Veterans Affairs Department to bill a vets’ insurance company for treating service-connected disabilities and injuries.

That’s the word from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is one of the top members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and a critic of the proposal.

Murray is making is portraying this change as the president listening to, and keeping faith with, veterans. 

Perhaps the president or his advisers could have saved themselves some grief by listening to veterans before trying to float the idea.

Text of Murray statement is inside the blog.