Now that the presidential race has been whittled down to two candidates, there's a lot more focus put on the issues that each will try to address if elected. Certainly, that will include the ways in which the federal government works to help veterans through all aspects of their daily lives. And recently, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump took the time to outline a 10-point plan that would overhaul the way the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates on a daily basis.
Among the plans Trump has established for how veterans would be treated by the VA going forward is that he would set up a hotline at the White House for veterans to lodge complaints about their care or service at the VA, according to a report from the Beltway news site Politico. All calls would be fielded by a human, and the Trump administration would work to address each one of the complaints received. If, after a given period of time, the issue had not been dealt with, it would be forwarded to the desk of Trump himself, to handle the complaint personally. Trump would also immediately appoint a new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
"[That appointee would make it his or her] personal mission to clean up the VA," Trump said, according to the site. "And this will be a person of great competence. This will not be a political hack."
Beyond that first issue, Trump also said that he would work to gain more control over day-to-day operations of the VA, including the ability to discipline and even fire those working for it, the report said. With this power, Trump believes he would be able to better control things if something goes awry and the VA "fail[s] veterans or breach the public trust."
However, Trump also said that he would use his power to protect good workers at the VA, and put them in a position to move more quickly up the ladder in the department, the report said. The incentives for those workers might include a system in which employees who are shown to save money through their work could be able to get a cash bonus for doing so.
Potential speed bumps
However, as with many things related to Trump, this plan is not without controversy, according to a report from the Christian Science Monitor. Some veterans groups have already criticized it for an aspect of the plan that would privatize veteran health care, giving former service members the ability to show a card at just about any health care facility that accepts Medicare and receive treatment. Those groups say that this could lead to veterans running into similar hurdles when it comes to getting treatment, because private doctors may likewise not be equipped to handle the demand that comes with treating many veterans in a short window.
Certainly, the presidential election is something that veterans will have to monitor closely, as they carefully examine the issues that will affect them and work to determine which candidate will best serve their interests going forward.