Rep. Scott Taylor on veterans' access to private health care

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 28, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You wait, and you wait a long time still. Is that true?


And, matter of fact, The Hill did a report on this just in March that VA had been caught sending false reports about wait times. We know that veterans are still waiting, on average, longer for care.

And this is something that the president talked about fixing when he was running for office.


TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: VA whistle-blower Scott Davis spoke exclusively to Neil, and Congress acted, passing a bill to give our veterans more access to health care outside the VA.

Let`s go right now to Virginia Republican Congressman and former Navy SEAL Scott Taylor.

Good to have you here, Congressman.

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR, R—VIRGINIA: Great to be with you. Thanks for having me.

REGAN: So, are you happy? You're not?

TAYLOR: Happy about what?


TAYLOR: Happy about the bill that we passed?

REGAN: Yes. Yes.


REGAN: Is this going to make it easier for veterans to get a different kind of care, better care?

TAYLOR: Well, I think it's important to say, yes, I mean, I'm optimistic that it will. I think it's a good bill.

But it's going to take, quite frankly, a lot of focus from the incoming secretary and the VA itself to implement it. And it's also going to take oversight from Congress, folks like myself, to make sure that it actually happens.

But absolutely, I mean, my own VA -- my big hospital there is a one star out of five star in terms of wait times and callbacks. And that's the first thing a veteran sees, right? So we have got to get a handle on that.

Some of this -- some of this bill will deal with that. We also have to figure out a way to expedite hiring, because there is a shortage. And you have to go through the bureaucracy of getting hired for that.

But, again, I go back to it's going to have rigorous oversight, as well as determined focus to get it done, to get it implemented.

REGAN: Representative, what do you say to those who are worried that this in some ways will take away from the VA hospitals themselves? If you have more choices, theoretically, the VA would try and be more competitive, maybe offer better care? Then again, maybe not.

TAYLOR: Well, let me preface this by saying we need a whole culture change in customer service, right? We need to be customer-service-oriented inside the VA for veterans, right?

Look, I know that there's a lot of politics that are going on, where, on the left, they're like, OK, you are privatizing the VA.

And let me get it very clear what my position is. It is the duty and the responsibility of the government to care for our veterans when they come back. However, there should be more private options that are out there. There are parts of the country that need -- that need the private sector to be able to supplement the VA and/or compete in some areas.

And there are some areas that, quite frankly, need to VA to help them in their private care. So I think more private options, more public-private partnerships is a good thing, rather than a bad thing.

REGAN: So, how long is this going to take to really become effective, in your view?

TAYLOR: I know that Congress has -- we had a year timeline, if I do remember, to get this thing implemented.

But, again, it's going to -- as you are well aware, the VA is a very big bureaucracy. You could spend a career trying to fix it and all kinds of different things.


TAYLOR: So, I'm not -- I'm not under any illusions that it's not going to be difficult.

But we have to do it, and we have to fight to get it done. So we're looking -- hopefully, it will get implemented within a year, but again that's going to take tremendous focus and a lot of oversight.

REGAN: What happens if not as many Republicans are in the seats come 2018, and you're still working to get all this implemented and up to speed?

Are you concerned at all that you will -- your process will be derailed?

TAYLOR: No, I would hope not.

You know, look, I think that, again, more options and getting these wait times down, there should be an equality of desire by both sides of the aisle to be able to get this done. I don't think that we're moving, that we're privatizing the VA, which has been a political thing.

So, hope -- I think we're going to win the majority. I actually think that. But if, for some reason that we don't, I think that their rhetoric of privatizing the VA will -- will be downplayed. They won't be saying it anymore. But I think it's important that veterans service organizations, veterans are constantly pressuring to make sure this is implemented, to make sure that there's over -- proper oversight to get it done.

But I think there's an equality of desire on both sides to reduce these wait times and take care of our veterans.

REGAN: Congressman, you're a former Navy SEAL.

I'm sure you have a lot of friends that have come home and found a very challenging situation, not just in terms of being able to find a job and fit back into society after some of the horrors that they have seen, but also to get the proper medical care.

How much of your personal experience and your friends' personal experience has influenced your -- your willingness to see this change and desire to try and push it through?

TAYLOR: Well, it's important that we`re taking care that unbroken line of patriots who have stepped forward always on behalf of this nation.

And I had the honor and the privilege of representing the district that has more veterans on active duty than any one in the nation. I`m in the VA system myself. I have tons of friends who are. It's an issue -- these are issues that we deal with every single day in my district.

And I know it's a huge responsibility, but it's an honor for me to do so. And on this Memorial Day, and Memorial Day weekend, we wish nothing but the best for all of our veterans and their families all around the country.

REGAN: Yes. Well, Representative Taylor, we appreciate it.

My dad is a veteran himself, and he relies on the VA care. So I hope you do all you can for all of our veterans out there. And thank you for your service. And happy Memorial Day, sir.

TAYLOR: Thank you so much. You as well. God bless.

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