Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
10:12 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I am concerned that our soldiers and their families are not getting the treatment that they deserve, having volunteered to defend our country. Any report of medical neglect will be taken seriously by this administration, I'm confident by the Congress, and we will address problems quickly.
I've asked two of America's fine public servants, Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala, to chair a commission that will analyze our health care both at the Defense Department and at the Veterans Department, to ensure that not only our soldiers but their families have got complete confidence in the government's upholding its responsibility to treat those who have been wounded.
I am concerned that there may be flaws in the system between when a soldier is on the battlefield, through the Defense Department, through the Veterans Administration, finally to the community. I can't think of two better people to analyze the situation and to make recommendations, two people to lead a commission of an incredible nine people, and that would be Senator Dole, who is himself a veteran, and a wounded veteran at that, a former distinguished Senator, a man who knows Washington well, but more importantly, knows the kind of questions that he needs to ask; and Secretary Shalala, who is an expert on health. She lived after eight years in President Clinton's administration, she knows what to look for, she knows the questions to ask.
And I'm confident that this commission will bring forth the truth. And as I assured the chairmen, I am confident that there will be a quick response to any problems that you may find. So I can't thank you enough for taking time, and to serve your nation once again. God bless. Thank you.
END 10:14 A.M. EST