by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Veterans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support reform that would allow military health benefits to be used outside the VA healthcare system, new polling shows.
Reform efforts have come under new scrutiny in recent weeks due to comments made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), who has indicated a willingness to oppose changes to the VA.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she said at a town hall two weeks ago. “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.”
This past weekend she doubled down, again saying reform wasn’t needed and saying it was a “myth” that veterans have problems with the current system.
An overwhelming majority of veterans disagree with Ocasio-Cortez, according to a new poll from Concerned Veterans for America that found 90 percent of veterans support having the choice to use their VA healthcare benefits outside of the existing system.
When veterans were notified in the poll that choosing to go outside the VA system for care could lead to additional out of pocket costs, support remained at 79 percent.
Both veterans who identify as Republicans (93 percent) and Democrats (88 percent) support increased choice. Ninety-two percent of senior citizen veterans also support the option.