The head of the VA is getting backlash after he compared the time it takes veterans to receive medical treatment at VA facilities to Disneyland guests waiting for a ride. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is getting backlash after what he told reporters Monday about veteran wait times.
"What really counts is, how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA? When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?" McDonald said during a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.
That comment angered many on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who tweeted, "This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines."
The VA is still reeling from the scandals revealing long wait times, falsified records and preventable deaths in the VA's health care system. McDonald said his agency is developing a new measure that he hopes reflects the overall quality of VA health care.
As for the Disney comparison, a spokesperson for Disney Theme Parks on Monday said they actually do take wait times seriously.
Staffers in Speaker Ryan’s office drew a comparison of their own, saying in a statement, "The VA is not the happiest place on earth—far from it. There’s no Fast Pass at the VA."