WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Kinzinger R-Ill. is calling for the resignation of Veterans Administration Chief Eric Shinseki, stepping up his criticism a week after he only predicted that Shinseki would not survive the unfolding scandal over treatment delays and cooked records. Kinzinger also said a “good way” to get rid of the backlog is to simply let a vet see a local doctor and send the bill to the VA. Kinzinger has a bill pending, introduced last January, that would allow the VA secretary pay non-VA providers.
“I think it’s time for Shinseki to resign. Because we need to get somebody there, he’s a great guy, a great American, but somebody there that knows how to fix the problem,” Kinzinger said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“
“…I’m not going to so far as to say get rid of the arm of the VA yet. But I have actually a bill out there that says if you live X amount of miles away from the clinic or a hospital, then you just go to your local doctor. And what you see is that’s a good way to get rid of a year long backlog. If somebody’s waiting, let them go to their doctor and bill the VA for it.
“I mean this is, again, a situation where there’s, I think, things that can be done. And I think what’s surprising is, you know, the president has made every decision he can to avoid making it looking like he’s making some kind of a leadership decision. And I think make a leadership decision, put somebody in there. When Secretary Gates heard about the problem at Walter Reed, he fired a whole bunch of people, and the Walter Reed scandal was fixed in a big way. That can be done in the VA, and it needs to now,” he said.