NORFOLK, Va. — Donald Trump proposed a series of reforms to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs on Saturday, delving deep into the specifics of his plan for nearly half an hour at a rally in Virginia before releasing the documents online a few hours later.
In the policy paper on Trump’s website, the Republican presidential candidate railed against the current state of the VA, calling it “absolutely unacceptable” and proposed three principle tenets to a reform plan that he feels will ameliorate many of the problems veterans currently face with the scandal-scarred agency.
According to Trump, his plan will “ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it,” “support the whole veteran” by treating both their physical and mental health needs and “make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down.”
Trump outlined this plan for the first time at a rally Saturday afternoon, ahead of the plan’s release, where he spoke in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin to a crowd of about 5,000 supporters.
The plan features promises to allow veterans to get healthcare anywhere they want.
“All veterans eligible for VA healthcare can bring their veteran’s ID cards to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately,” he said.
Trump promises an increase in funding for PTSD and suicide prevention services, increased funding for job training, incentives for companies that hire vets and working with non-profits that already work with vets to find employment opportunities.
The Trump VA plan also provides a focus on female vets, who Trump says exemplify some of this “new generation of veterans.”
“The fact that many VA hospitals don’t permanently staff OBGYN doctors shows an utter lack of respect for the growing number of female veterans,” the plan states. “Under the Trump plan, every VA hospital in the country will be fully equipped with OBGYN and other women’s health services.”
In the eyes of the real estate mogul-turned-politician, Trump’s plan requires managerial prowess — a skill that he frequently touts as one that only he possesses in a saturated Republican primary field.
“It’s time we have to say it,” he told the Virginia crowd, “I like Ben Carson. But there’s no way he can fix this, folks.”
Trump has hit Carson on his ability to manage before, saying that Carson’s tax plan for a flat tax across the board would grow agencies like the IRS — a move that Trump explains would increase bureaucratic red tape.
In his plan, Trump also bucked the idea that throwing money at problems in the VA would work.
“Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem. None of it has worked,” Trump writes, citing wait times that were “50 (percent) higher this summer” than the year before.
"It’s time we stop trusting Washington politicians to fix the problems and empower our veterans to vote with their feet," he wrote.