"The View" co-host Meghan McCain hit out at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) Monday after the Democratic lawmaker said that the Department of Veterans Affairs "provides the highest quality care to our veterans" and added that, if the program "ain't broke, don't fix it."
Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks during a town hall event in New York City last week.
"The idea that this thing that isn't broken, this thing that provides the highest quality care to our veterans somehow needs to be fixed, optimized, tinkered with until you don't even recognize it anymore," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Here's the thing, they are trying to fix it, but who are they trying to fix it for is the question we've got to ask.
"They're trying to fix the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they're trying to fix the VA for insurance corporations, and ultimately they're trying to fix the VA for a for-profit health care industry that does not put people or veterans first," she said.
"We have a responsibility to protect it, because if it is any community that deserves Cadillac first-class health care in the United States of America it is our military service members," the congresswoman added.
What did McCain say?
McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), took personal exception to the congresswoman's remarks and bashed the notion on Twitter.
On Twitter, McCain wrote, "Veterans have literally died waiting to get health care treatment from the VA....died!"
A March 2014 report revealed that former Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over an ongoing controversy regarding vets' care.
The Department of Veterans Affairs' inspector general conducted an investigation into the department. The report revealed that veterans were being made to wait on average 115 days for a first-time appointment at a Phoenix care center. VA officials purportedly falsified records to conceal the fact that veterans had to wait so long for appointments. As a result, at least 35 vets seeking care at the Phoenix facility died before they could receive care.
Phoenix wasn't the only issue.
A May 2015 report found that even after Shinseki resigned, at least one in 36 vets had to wait 30 days on average for an appointment nationwide. A startling 232,000 veterans were forced to wait more than 60 days to be seen.
A 2018 report found that there were "critical deficiencies" at the Washington, D.C., Veterans Affairs Medical Center, including a lack of supplies,"chronic staffing shortages," "excessive vacancies in leadership positions," a "lack of consistently clean storage areas for medical supplies and equipment," and more.
The 2018 report also revealed that the medical center's issues also included "delays or postponements of procedures due to unavailable usable instruments." The report noted that in some cases, veterans had to "wait months for needed items."