EDITORIAL: Give VA chief authority

Bravo to President Barack Obama for reaching well outside his comfort zone and nominating Bob McDonald, the retired chairman, president and CEO of Procter &Gamble, to reverse the culture of corruption and indifference that plagues Veterans Affairs.

Although the president has more private-sector experience in his Cabinet than he is given credit for, he has long favored surrounding himself with politicians, academics and government workers. Mr. McDonald, a West Point graduate, hasn’t worked in government since leaving the Army 34 years ago.

Upon his confirmation, Mr. McDonald must be given the kind of authority he enjoyed in business. In other words, he should be allowed to clean house. There is always great political resistance to public-sector change — bureaucrats build empires by preserving the status quo. But make no mistake, the only way to create accountability within the VA is to fire the people who created secret waiting lists and covered up delays and shortcomings in the care of veterans.

We believe the VA’s benefits and services should be privatized, which would allow veterans to receive taxpayer-funded care from any hospital and physician of their choosing. Absent that, perhaps Mr. McDonald can immediately transition millions of veterans to private care to eliminate dangerous appointment delays.

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