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Sharron Angle suggested we should privatize Dept of Veterans Affairs

Washington Post, 6/14/10 - Here's yet another data point for those looking to paint Sharron Angle as a female, right-wing Rand Paul: In a recent interview Angle suggested we should privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The key exchange comes halfway through this interview Angle gave to an NPR affiliate in Nevada on May 19th. In it, Angle discusses the plight of her father as follows:

ANGLE: He's 87 years old and has Parkinson's and we have to pay more and more for his healthcare. I know he pays over 800 dollars a month in prescription drugs that we can't get through his VA nor through Medicare -- they just wont cover those things. And I know lots of seniors --

BECKER: Should they cover those things?

ANGLE: No, not if you're working towards a privatized system. And he can pay for them. That's my whole point. Even with the system we've got, it's broken, its not covering for every cost that he has. And if he were dependent upon that, he wouldn't be getting the healthcare he needs and that's why we need to fix the system.

It isn't entirely clear what Angle's overarching policy prescription is here. She says it's proper that the VA isn't covering her father's prescription drugs "if" we "are working towards a privatized system." It's hard to read that as anything but an endorsement of the idea.

Indeed, it's even more reasonable to read her comments that way when you consider her positions on Medicare and Social Security. Harry Reid's campaign has a new ad up attacking Angle for saying at a debate: "We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out."

Angle has dismissed Reid's attack by claiming she wants the government to keep its contract with those who "entered into the system on good faith." But she also says she favors developing "free market alternatives," and her Web site says Social Security is going to be "transitioned out."

So it's fair to ask whether Angle wants to see Veterans Affairs "transitioned out," too. Expect Dems to jump on this one.

UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: The agency is currently called the Department of Veterans Affairs; it was previously known as the Veterans Administration. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, with VA standing for both, I've corrected the above to reflect this.

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