Top VA Health Nominee Withdraws Over Ties to Waiting-List Scandal

The decision follows reports tying the nominee to a hospital with alleged secret waiting lists.

National Journal
Jordain Carney
June 5, 2014, 11:55 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama’s nom­in­ee to be the top health of­fi­cial at the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs De­part­ment with­drew Thursday, his con­firm­a­tion chances severely com­prom­ised by po­ten­tial ties to the de­part­ment’s broad­er “wait­ing list” scan­dal

Re­ports have linked Jef­frey Mur­awsky — who was Obama’s choice to serve as the de­part­ment’s next un­der­sec­ret­ary for health — to an Illinois fa­cil­ity where staff al­legedly placed vet­er­ans on such secret wait­ing lists for med­ic­al ap­point­ments. He was also a phys­i­cian at the fa­cil­ity, and he tech­nic­ally re­mains on staff.

Mur­awsky asked the White House and Sloan Gib­son, the VA’s act­ing sec­ret­ary, to pull his nom­in­a­tion to be the de­part­ment’s next un­der­sec­ret­ary for health.

It’s the second loss for the de­part­ment in un­der a week, with Eric Shin­seki resign­ing as sec­ret­ary on Fri­day. A re­port from the VA’s in­spect­or gen­er­al re­leased last month found that “in­ap­pro­pri­ate schedul­ing prac­tices are a sys­tem­ic prob­lem na­tion­wide.”

Pres­id­ent Obama nom­in­ated Mur­awsky on May 1 to suc­ceed Robert Pet­zel, who was ex­pec­ted to re­tire later this year. But Pet­zel resigned ab­ruptly last month as the de­part­ment’s scan­dal con­tin­ued to grow.

“The pres­id­ent and Act­ing Sec­ret­ary [Sloan Gib­son] plan to move as quickly as pos­sible to fill the po­s­i­tion with the best pos­sible can­did­ate who can en­sure that our vet­er­ans get the care they have earned and de­serve,” a seni­or ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said, con­firm­ing Mur­awsky’s de­cision to with­draw — ori­gin­ally re­por­ted by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Gib­son will ask a com­mis­sion to re­com­mend a new nom­in­ee for the Vet­er­ans Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mur­awsky’s de­cision comes as in­de­pend­ent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont un­veiled a bi­par­tis­an bill aimed at fix­ing many of the VA’s prob­lems. The le­gis­la­tion would make it easi­er for Gib­son to fire seni­or of­fi­cials, while also in­clud­ing — un­like a sim­il­ar bill passed by the House last week — one week for em­ploy­ees to ap­peal the de­cision.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×