Marco Rubio joins committee for VA health care reform

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has become the newest member of a Congressional committee asked to fix the problems with the Veterans Administration healthcare system.

The House-Senate conference committee named the Florida Senator to help resolve the different versions of reform legislation for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which recently passed both chambers.

Although he is not a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the conference committee invited Marco Rubio due to his work on the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, passed by the House in May. The Act was also incorporated in the Senate-passed VA reform legislation passed June 11.

If the Senate bill comes law, however, POLITICO reports that it could be expensive for Washington. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office said that increased veteran health-care access could have the federal government paying an additional $50 billion a year.

On key feature of the measure gives the VA secretary authority to fire or demote VA Senior Executive Service or comparable employees based on poor performance.

“The VA is in desperate need of reform and accountability, and I look forward to being part of this effort to resolve outstanding policy differences and produce a final law that starts making a real difference for our veterans,” Rubio said in a statement issued Wednesday. “I look forward to being a voice at the negotiating table for Florida’s 2 million veterans, as well as all veterans across the country.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.