PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has issued a strongly worded condemnation of the VA’s decision to use earbuds in its hearing aid system for veterans suffering from hearing loss.
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump called the VA “a very, a very big mistake” that will “probably be a death sentence for the vets in this room.”
“This is a very, not a very good thing for them.
It is a death penalty for them,” he said.
Trump’s comments came a day after the VA approved the use of the devices for veterans in Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
“I think it’s a very sad thing,” said Trump.
“This is going to be a very bad decision for the veterans.”
Trump also told Stephanopoulos that the VA should have the authority to decide whether to use the earbud, which cost less than $5.
The VA is still reviewing the applications for the devices and the department has not yet determined whether they will be approved.
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on Dec. 5, 2019, about the use by the Veterans Affairs of VA hearing aid devices for use in combat zones.
(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) Trump has said he will seek to undo the VA use of earbudes, which he said were a cost-cutting measure for the VA.
The VA has said it will continue to use them for veterans.
The President’s statement came hours after the Trump administration released its own analysis of the use and costs of the ear-buds.
The report, released Wednesday, said ear-bands could save the VA $1.2 billion in 2018 alone and that veterans would save $2,500 a year in medical care.
Veterans, however, said the cost to the VA is far less than the $1 billion cost of the new devices, which are designed to be worn by soldiers who can’t hear.
They argue the devices could save vets from hearing damage and help them regain their hearing in the future.
“I’m glad the president is talking about this, but I’m really concerned,” said Jason Womack, a veteran who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They are expensive.
They cost a lot of money.
They’re not effective.
I don’t want to see them, so I’m just going to stop wearing them.”