“Her ignorance is mind blowing.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was lambasted on social media Monday after video emerged of the progressive Democrat urging against the reform of the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs and calling it “this thing that provides the highest quality care to our veterans.”
“[T]here’s some things that we’re hearing today, there’s some themes we’ve got coming out, and especially when it comes to the VA, all I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always told me growing up,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a town hall event in New York City last week.
“Which is that, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”
The freshman congresswoman dismissed calls to privatize the healthcare system that has been rocked by numerous scandals. According to Ocasio-Cortez, the VA is working just fine.
“And — exactly, don’t fix it. And … that is their opening approach that we have seen when it comes to privatization, is 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 — until we don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said.
“We have a responsibility to protect it, because if it is any community that deserves Cadillac first-class health care in the United States of America it is our military service members,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
Pundits and commenters on social media responded by forcefully pushing back on the Justice Democrat’s remarks.
“Such callous ignorance of the conditions afflicting the VA should be automatically disqualifying. Rather, for her cheering section, it is a rallying cry,” wrote Noah Rothman, associate editor of Commentary, in a tweet quoting his own scathing piece on Ocasio-Cortez’s comments.
— Natalie Johnson (@nataliejohnsonn) April 22, 2019
Fox & Friends weekend co-host and Iraq veteran Pete Hegseth blasted Ocasio-Cortez.
“Comrade AOC knows nothing about the VA. Defends system failing vets every single day,” Hegseth said. “Just another hack politician echoing what the government unions want her to say. The ‘woman of the people’ should try VA healthcare. But she won’t, because she’s a fraud.”
“I am at a loss. This child clearly hasn’t been in more than 1 VA Facility. Her ignorance is mind blowing,” tweeted a retired military service member.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pushed for reforms of a system thought by many to be failing.
In 2014, VA officials were accused of falsifying data to conceal how long veterans were waiting to see doctors at VA hospitals.
The VA Inspector General’s report from 2015 showed that more than 300,000 military veterans died waiting for health care at the VA.
“We keep finding the same problems over and over,” Comptroller General of the United States and Government Accountability Office head Gene Dodaro said in 2019 while testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The VA is a repeat offender on the GAO’s annual “High Risk List” of government programs particularly prone to “fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.”