News Headlines for Wednesday, May 25th

VA Secretary Compares Appointment Wait Time to Disneyland –

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is receiving criticism for comparing the time it takes to receive VA healthcare services to waiting in line at Disneyland. McDonald made this comment while at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington: “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?” National Commander Dale Barnett of the American Legion disapproved of the comment, calling it “an unfortunate comparison because people don’t die while waiting to go on Space Mountain.”
Source: CNN

Guam in Range of China’s DF-26 Missile –

A congressional panel has issued a report with a warning about a Chinese missile, nick-named the “Guam Killer”, and the potential danger. The DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile was unveiled last September in a military parade in Beijing, which has the capability of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report stated, “China’s commitment to continuing to modernize its strike capabilities indicates the risk will likely grow going forward.” Tension between the U.S. and China has increased recently, but officials say the threat is currently low due to China’s current guidance technology.
Source: CNN

VA Opposing Expansion of Choice Program –

The Department of Veterans Affairs is opposing expansion of the Vet Choice Program and instead requesting permission from Congress to include several private care programs with Choice, according to VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. A bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. would allow any enrolled veteran to use the program, but Gibson states that would have a negative effect on the VA. McCain says the legislation is needed due to some physicians refusing to see veterans under Choice because the program is set to expire next year. The proposed bill would make Choice a permanent program.
Source: Military Times

VA Incorrectly Classified 4,200 Veterans as Deceased –

Over a five year span, more than 4,200 veterans were mistakenly declared ‘dead’ and had benefits terminated by Veterans Affairs officials, according to a new report. The issue was brought to light following a congressional inquiry by Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., who has been tracking multiple complaints about premature death notices over the past few years. In 2015, about 1,025 veterans had their benefits cut off, which was fixed weeks to months later. VA officials approved policy changes in December allowing a 30 day window following a death notice to provide proof of a mistake.
Source: Military Times