VA Secretary compares wait times at Disneyland with delay in treating vets
This quote is in the running for "Dumbest thing ever said by a cabinet secretary in US history."
Bob McDonald told reporters at a breakfast that Disneyland doesn't measure wait times for rides, so why should the VA measure wait times to treat veterans?
Oh. My. God.
"When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important?" McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience?"
American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett excoriated McDonald: "The American Legion agrees that the VA secretary's analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don't die while waiting to go on Space Mountain."
"We also disagree with the substance of his comment because wait times are very important to not just the satisfaction quotient, but in some cases the veterans health," he said in a statement.
Prominent Republicans criticized the secretary in the hours following his remarks, including presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who painted McDonald as an example of Obama's administration.
"Obama's VA Secretary just said we shouldn't measure wait times. Hillary says VA problems are not 'widespread.' I will take care of our vets!" Trump tweeted, a reference to comments Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton made in 2015.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also used Twitter to criticize McDonald.
"This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines," Ryan tweeted.
McDonald told reporters the VA is trying to move to a satisfaction based measurement that can track the quality of VA health care rather than just how long vets are waiting for various medical appointments and procedures.
"The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring," McDonald said. "What we should be measuring is the veteran's satisfaction. I mean, what really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA."
Disneyland theme parks spend millions of dollars every year studying and trying to improve wait times for everything from rides, to concessions, to the gift shop. That's because they live and die by how well they serve the public.
The same cannot be said about the VA. This Bozo has been in office for two years, having taken over after one the worst scandals in VA history, and has yet to show he can right the ship. It's not an easy task. The culture at the VA is so corrupted and many managers so incompetent that a wholesale house cleaning is in order.
But it's apparently harder to fire a bad VA manager than it is to schedule appointments for vets in a timely manner. That's how sick the VA culture is and why things won't get better until the entire agency is privatized.