Michaud calls on President to act in wake of VA scandal

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Rep. Mike Michaud is calling on the President to hold medical staff accountable in the aftermath of the Veterans Affairs wait-list scandal. Michaud made the statements at a news conference at a VFW Post in Portland on Friday.

Michaud, who is running for Governor, is the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. The committee is investigating whether VA employees covered up long waits for medical care at VA hospitals in other parts of the country. The Togus VA Hospital here in Maine is not involved. But Michaud is calling on the President to issue an executive order to update performance standards and to step up accountability for about 80,000 physicians and dentists who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

'It would be transparency more than what it is today, but most importantly, it sets up performance measures within the department system wide,' said Rep. Mike Michaud, (D) Maine.

The two men Michaud is facing in November, Republican incumbent Paul LePage and Independent Eliot Cutler, both had a lot to say about the VA situation, and Michaud's take on it.

"I am deeply disturbed by the inaction of the President of the United States. The unscrupulous politics surrounding the VA right now is intolerable and an embarrassment to our nation," said Governor LePage. "Congressman Mike Michaud, Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee has had six long years to fix problems within the VA and demand change. Instead, during an election year, just last month, he decides to propose reform - too little, too late. Where was the call to action when veterans were being turned away and even worse when they died?"

Gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler also weighed in on the issue on Friday. "I agree with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who said this morning that we have 'no higher responsibility' than to provide quality medical care to the men and women who have served our country in uniform," Cutler said. "The real tragedy here is that poor service and long waiting times have been an issue for veterans for years - President Obama raised the issue when he first ran in 2008. It's hard to understand why it has taken so long for those in the administration and congress whose job it is to provide oversight of the VA to address the problem. Career politicians are no substitute for competent management, and unfortunately our veterans are paying the price."


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