KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The White House Is In The Hot Seat As VA Problems Continue To Emerge

President Barack Obama will speak soon about the reports regarding delays and flaws in the Veterans' Affairs health system. In the meantime, however, the administration is defending its nominee for a high-ranking VA position.

The Wall Street Journal: White House Defends VA Nominee Murawsky
The White House on Monday defended President Barack Obama's nominee for a high-ranking Department of Veterans Affairs position, as the administration scrambles to control the fallout from wide-ranging allegations of misconduct at the VA. Just days after the forced resignation of Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health at the VA, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced questions about its nominee to replace him, Jeffrey Murawsky, who has served for more than a decade in the VA system. Mr. Murawsky currently oversees a hospital network that includes a Chicago-area VA hospital which allegedly used unauthorized appointment waiting lists that made official wait times seem to fall within VA targets (Kesling, McCain Nelson and Lee, 5/19).

Reuters: Obama To Speak About Veterans Administration Problems Soon
President Barack Obama is to speak out soon about reports of health care delays at the Veterans Administration in an effort to underscore his determination to fix any flaws in the system. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday they would "hear from him at some point on this issue soon," and other officials said he was likely to comment on it before leaving on a trip to New York state and Chicago on Thursday (5/19).

The Associated Press: For Obama, A 2nd-Term Focus On Following Through
Republicans and Democrats alike have voiced anger over troubling allegations of preventable deaths and treatment delays at VA hospitals around the country. While Obama is so far standing by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, officials say there is urgency in getting the matter under control. As it seeks to shore up its response, the White House is turning to the same playbook it used during the health care enrollment debacle, when Obama dispatched longtime aide Jeffrey Zients to the Health and Human Services Department to oversee efforts to fix the woeful website. Obama made a similar move last week, temporarily assigning deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to the VA to lead an internal review of agency policies (5/20).

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