Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson suggested eliminating the Department of Veterans Affairs in a talk radio interview Wednesday, leading to swift condemnation from one veterans group.
The former Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon said problems with the Veterans Affairs health system are discouraging people from joining the military in the first place and said there needed to be a single system to take care of active-duty troops as well as those who are no longer serving.
“We don’t need a Department of Veterans Affairs,” Carson told host Dave Ramsey. “Veterans Affairs should be folded in under the Department of Defense. And it should be a smooth transition. We need to be looking at the way we take care of soldiers.”
Instead of the current system that provides treatment for veterans at government-run hospitals, Carson suggested that they should have a health savings account that would pay for treatment at any medical facility. The VA facilities could then be used for specialized treatments for traumatic brain injuries and limb replacements — problems that particularly afflict veterans.