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Charlie Crist stresses veterans care

Likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist today called on Veteraqns Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign amid the scandal over VA problems and seized on a Pew analysis that tens of thousands of veterans in Florida are being denied health coverage because state leaders have declined to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion:

I appreciate Secretary Eric Shinseki's service to his country, and while we don't know precisely what happened here, we do know that there must be accountability and confidence in leadership in order to get to the truth and provide veterans the medical care they've earned and deserve. That confidence is gone. I think it would be best if the Secretary stepped down and allowed others to get the VA fixed once and for all.

Moreover, if I were Governor, rather than using this moment as a political tool, I would take immediate action to employ any and all resources needed to make sure that our veterans here in Florida get the care that they need and deserve. I'd start by calling the legislature back in a special session to expand coverage to the more than 41,000 Florida veterans who fall into the health care gap and are not currently insured due to Rick Scott and the legislature's failure.

This isn't an issue of left versus right -- it's a crisis that requires leadership.

Rick Scott's unwillingness to lead on health care means that more than one million Floridians will not receive the health care they deserve and paid for — including more than 41,000 veterans. If he fought half as hard for health care for working Floridians as he does his corporate contributors, not only would 41,000 veterans have health care, Floridians would benefit from the creation of 100,000 new jobs.

The Florida GOP noted that the Crist campaign sent out a fundraising email on the matter:

“Charlie Crist’s attempt to raise campaign cash off of the VA tragedy is a new low for him and his campaign. Governor Scott has worked hard to hold the VA accountable, while Crist has sat on the sidelines as the evidence piled up that the men and women who served our country have been treated with neglect," said state GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth. "Crist is exploiting veterans to raise a few bucks while Governor Scott is leading the charge against the VA’s unacceptable actions. That’s called leadership – something Charlie Crist wouldn’t recognize if it hit him in the face."