VA secretary compared hospital wait times to Disneyland lines

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The VA Secretary Just Compared Hospital Wait Times to Disneyland Lines

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is in hot water after likening wait times at veterans clinics to waiting in line at Disneyland.

He made the comparison to a group of reporters at a media breakfast after being asked why the VA doesn't report the date when veterans first seek an appointment.

He reportedly said: "The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran's satisfaction. ... When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience. And that's really the kind of measure I want to move to."

Republican leaders were quick to bash McDonald for his statement. House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted: "This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines."



Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeted, in part, "Sec. McDonald's statement shows he's completely out-of-touch with crisis in vets health care..."



Even GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump chimed in, tweeting: "Obama's VA Secretary just said we shouldn't measure wait times. ... I will take care of our vets!"



McDonald took over as secretary for the department after a 2014 investigation revealed veterans were dying while waiting months to receive care at VA hospitals.

But more recent reports indicate wait times are still an issue. In April, the Government Accountability Office released a report indicating nearly half of surveyed veterans seeking medical care were forced to wait more than 30 days for treatment.

CNN reports the VA issued a statement later on Monday that reads in part: "We know that veterans are still waiting too long for care. ... We must transform the way we do business."

A look back at the Veterans Affairs hearing:

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VA secretary compared hospital wait times to Disneyland lines
FILE - In this July 9, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem _ multiple in fact. It can't count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can't get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
In this photo taken July 7, 2015, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem _ multiple in fact. It can't count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can't get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) (L) and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-PA) conduct a hearing about the Veterans Affiars Department's budget March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. VA Secretary Robert McDonald faced questions from the subcommittee about the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to expedite access to private care if vets have been waiting longer than 30 days or live farther than 40 miles away from a VA hospital. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: (L-R), Meghan Flanz, Office of Accountability Review VA, Carolyn Lerner Office Of Special Counsel, Christian Head, MD. Los Angles VA Health Care System, Maryann Hooker, MD. Wilmington VA Medical Center, and Richard Tremaine, MD. VA Central Alabama Healthcare System, participate in a House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee hearing on April 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee is hearing testimony on addressing continued whistleblower retaliation within the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald (L) prepares to testify before the House Appropriations Committee's Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee about his department's budget March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. McDonald faced questions from the subcommittee about the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to expedite access to private care if vets have been waiting longer than 30 days or live farther than 40 miles away from a VA hospital. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-PA) open a hearing about the Veterans Affiars Department's budget March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. VA Secretary Robert McDonald faced questions from the subcommittee about the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to expedite access to private care if vets have been waiting longer than 30 days or live farther than 40 miles away from a VA hospital. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) (R) greets (L-R) Interim VA Undersecretary for Health Carolyn Clancy, VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald before a heairng of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee about his department's budget March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. McDonald faced questions from the subcommittee about the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to expedite access to private care if vets have been waiting longer than 30 days or live farther than 40 miles away from a VA hospital. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) (L) greets Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald before a heairng of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee about his department's budget March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. McDonald faced questions from the subcommittee about the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to expedite access to private care if vets have been waiting longer than 30 days or live farther than 40 miles away from a VA hospital. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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