McCain Calls for Change in VA's Mission


From CBS News' John Bentley:

(SEDONA, ARIZ.) – The Veterans Administration should concentrate on treating soldiers with serious injuries and get out of the business of routine health care, John McCain said today.

"We have got to spend more effort and devote more time to the treatment of the battle wounds both seen and unseen," McCain said, appearing via satellite at National Forum on Disability Issues. "I believe we need to relieve the burden on the VA from routine health care, put more of our assets in the unique capabilities of the VA for the treatment of combat wounds, both seen and unseen."

McCain advocates giving each veteran a card that they can take to any doctor's office, so the VA can concentrate on more serious, combat-related injuries, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"If you have a routine health care need, take it wherever you want, whatever doctor or health care provider and get the treatment you need, while we at the VA focus our attention, our care, our love, on these grievous wounds of war," he said.

While McCain has been criticized for not supporting some types of funding for veterans programs because he believes they are not cost efficient or encourage soldiers to leave the armed services, the U.S. government spent over $80 billion on veterans in 2007, the largest expenditure in history.