How the VA became a 2016 campaign issue

Reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs has transitioned from a cause promoted mostly by advocacy groups to one routinely debated on the campaign trail.

From Hillary Clinton to Marco Rubio, candidates on either side of the aisle have weighed in on ways to fix the broken VA, injecting mainstream politics into a discussion once dominated by bureaucratic noise.

Rubio became the latest presidential hopeful to offer a solution for the VA's backlogged system by proposing to increase veterans' access to care in the private sector during a speech in Iowa Thursday.

It's a suggestion popular among Republican candidates who have used years of recent problems at the VA as another avenue to attack President Obama and, by extension, whichever Democrat aspires to replace him.