Bill Kristol Leaves Tavis Smiley Speechless Over VA Scandal

Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard dismantled liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos

Appearing as a guest on Sunday, June 1, Kristol left Smiley speechless surrounding how to solve the VA scandal when he asked his fellow panelist: “If they got a generous voucher to use to purchase the health insurance they need or the health care they need how would that be failing veterans?” [See video below.] 

Kristol’s comments came at the end of a segment on the VA in which the conservative argued “The VA needs to be fundamentally reformed. And one way it can be reformed is to in fact let people take a voucher and go to a hospital, the same hospital as we all go to, instead of having to go to the VA to get special services. I want to fundamentally reform the VA and reduce it just like we did with the G.I. bill.” 

After Smiley attempted to change the subject by blaming Republicans for wanting to repeal ObamaCare, Kristol slapped him down over the need for veterans to receive the same health care as everyone else, including having the choice to go to any hospital they choose.

See relevant transcript below.   


ABC

This Week with George Stephanopoulos

June 1, 2014

10:36 p.m. Eastern 

BILL KRISTOL: More veterans have come back and they’ve gone to college. And how have they gone to college? The got the G.I. bill. And you know what, there’s no crisis of veterans getting into college. The VA is flawed because it’s failed big-government bureaucracy. You can’t fire anyone. It’s gotten more money each year under President Obama. Its rate of increase of funding has gone up faster than the number of people they're serving. The VA needs to be fundamentally reformed. And one way it can be reformed is to in fact let people take a voucher and go to a hospital, the same hospital as we all go to, instead of having to go to the VA to get special services. I want to fundamentally reform the VA and reduce it just like we did with the G.I. bill. Do you think there needs to be a veterans university? And furthermore, I would keep some centers of excellence, research on special things that affect veterans. Some special treatment, that’s fine. There's no need for a huge sprawling Veterans Administration hospital. 

TAVIS SMILEY: I’'m not suggesting there ought not to be reform but privatization Bill is not the answer to everything. And the fact of the matter is there are veterans coming home, who Are falling into poverty more and more every day. It's shameful the way we treat our veterans. Here's the real problem, the problem is -- this issue becomes significant for us when veterans don't get the health care they need and we want to play politics with this. But there are millions of Americans every day who are being failed by a health care system that the Republicans want to repeal every progress we're making to serve everyday people whether they're veterans or not. 

KRISTOL: If they got a generous voucher to use to purchase the health insurance they need or the health care they need how would that be failing veterans? 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.