National Commander Charles E. Schmidt of the American Legion stated he is, “encouraged by Secretary Shuklin’s candor and commitment in fixing the, the VA. We believe he is sincere and motivated to effect positive change throughout the VA healthcare system.”

“Since Secretary Shulkin has taken charge, we’ve seen his demonstrated commitment to transparency with the implementation of published wait times at each VA medical facility,” Schmidt said. “No other healthcare system I’m aware of does this.”

“As one of the founding authors of appeals reform, we appreciate the Secretary’s support, thank the House of Representatives for recently passing legislation, and strongly encourage the Senate to do the same,” Schmidt said.

“We share his concern about access to care and the quality of care. While we are confident that the majority of VA employees believe in their mission and provide veterans quality care, more needs to be done to provide Secretary Shulkin the authorities necessary to terminate employment for poor performers or those that commit misconduct,” Schmidt said.

“We are guardedly optimistic about the implementation of the complaint hotline,” Schmidt said.

“The American Legion thanks Secretary Shulkin for his acknowledgment of the medicinal potential of cannabis, and we stand ready to fight alongside him to get this Administration to reschedule marijuana and remove onerous barriers to medical research – especially into marijuana’s efficacy in the treatment of PTSD, TBI, chronic pain, and other myriad illnesses,” Schmidt said. “It is time to allow medical researchers to thoroughly investigate the medicinal properties of this plant.”

“The American Legion is concerned about President Trump’s VA budget priorities.”

“As I stated last week, the administration’s budget for the VA would effectively lower the earnings of our most vulnerable veterans by reducing or eliminating disability payments from veterans who are the most in need,” Schmidt said. “This is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

“Last week, our headquarters was overrun with questions and concerns about the disasterous impact proposed changes to the Individual Unemployability program would have on our ageing veteran community.” Schmidt said, “We are also alarmed by the cannibalization of services needed for the Choice program. It is a ‘stealth’ privatization attempt which The American Legion fully opposes. Choice should not be advanced to the detriment of cost of living increases for veterans.

“We believe that the VA is a system worth saving, and that the VA should be the healthcare provider of first resort for our Nation’s deserving veterans,” said Schmidt.

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion,, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.