“It's not just a scheduling problem in the VA,” the former Republican presidential candidate said on CBS' “Face the Nation.” "And one of the keys to solving this problem … is to give the veteran the flexibility to get the care that he or she needs at the closest and most available place.”
Numerous lawmakers have floated the idea of giving veterans access to private medical care, saying the federal bureaucracy is not equipped to handle the barrage of claims stemming from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Why should a veteran have to get into a van and ride three hours to get to Phoenix in order to have routine medical care taken care of?” McCain asked. “Why doesn't that veteran have a card and go to the caregiver that he or she needs and wants?”
A recent audit from the VA’s inspector general found that veterans had to wait an average of 115 days for an appointment at the Phoenix facility.
And McCain continued to champion an unconventional pick to lead the VA.
“If there's anybody in Congress that knows more about health care, then Tom Coburn should be the next secretary of the Veteran's administration in my view,” he told CBS.