WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Today, President George W. Bush appointed former Senator Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala to head an independent commission that will review all VA and military medical facilities. U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the following comment:
?I am pleased that President Bush has selected two very qualified and highly regarded individuals to lead this important investigation. I applaud the selection of Senator Dole, who served over 35 years in Congress and is a highly decorated veteran. I served in the Senate with Senator Dole and, as a fellow World War II veteran, admire greatly the work he has done for our country's veterans. As a wounded and disabled veteran, Senator Dole brings a special perspective to this serious issue.
?In addition, I commend President Bush for selecting Secretary Shalala. During her tenure as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary Shalala worked to increase access to health care for millions of children, increased immunization rates, and implemented management reform of Medicare. An example of an outstanding initiative approved by Secretary Shalala was Hawaii's QUEST Medicaid demonstration program. This essential program in Hawaii has improved the lives of many who otherwise would have been denied access to health care.
?With the experience of both these seasoned public servants, I believe their insights and recommendations into our VA and military medical facilities will help us in our shared goal of providing our service members and veterans with the health care they deserve,? Akaka said.