Last week, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act into law. Although the law grants thousands of military veterans access to long-awaited medical attention, at a cost of $16.3 billion, the measure will further expand the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) bureaucracy without addressing crucial systemic failures. On Tuesday at AEI, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, said the bill is only one step toward ensuring that America’s veterans receive the best quality of care. He stressed that there is an opportunity to create a 21st-century system where veterans, not bureaucrats, are in charge.
Gingrich asserted that we owe it to our vets to transform the current system and in the process demonstrate how technological breakthroughs can create a personalized health care system for every citizen. Referring to the scandals, inefficiencies, and pervasive corruption at facilities across the country, Gingrich said that the VA is a good starting point for introducing a flexible and adaptive system that replaces, not just reforms, the current structure.
Gingrich pointed to smartphone applications like ZocDoc for scheduling medical appointments and Wello for tracking vitals as innovations that will help deliver the highest-quality care to address veterans’ immediate health care needs while keeping costs down.
There is enormous potential for modern technology and modern systems to dramatically improve the lives of veterans. Rebuilding the failed, sometimes corrupt, and always bureaucratic and unionized US Department of Veterans Affairs should not be the primary focus. Empowering veterans through modern technology could increase health, convenience, accountability, and independence while actually lowering the cost to the taxpayer and reducing bureaucracy.
Please join us as Newt Gingrich reveals his plan for improving veterans’ health by harnessing 21st-century technologies.
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Jeffrey Eisenach, AEI
Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives
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Jeffrey Eisenach is a visiting scholar at AEI. Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget. At AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a senior vice president at NERA Economic Consulting and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches Regulated Industries. He writes on a wide range of issues, including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Newt Gingrich is a former speaker of the US House of Representatives (1995–99) and was a 2012 Republican presidential candidate. An active author, Gingrich has published 24 books, including 14 fiction and nonfiction New York Times bestsellers. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. Recent films include “America at Risk,” “Nine Days that Changed the World,” and “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny.” Gingrich is a cohost on CNN’s “Crossfire.”