Obama health care nominee withdraws

WASHINGTON (TIP): President Barack Obama’s choice to be the top health official at the embattled veterans affairs department has withdrawn his nomination. The news comes amid a firestorm over long patient waits at military veterans’ medical facilities and covering up delays, a headache for Democrats ahead of November congressional elections.

Murawsky now oversees seven VA hospitals and 30 clinics, including one in suburban Chicago where there are allegations that its staff used secret lists to conceal long patient wait times for appointments. The White House said in a statement that Murawsky feared a prolonged fight over his confirmation, adding that he believes the role is too important not to be filled quickly. Obama accepted Murawsky’s withdrawal and will move quickly to find a replacement, the White House statement said.

Murawsky’s withdrawal comes as the Senate reached agreement for a bipartisan bill expanding veterans’ ability to get government-paid medical care outside veterans affairs hospitals and clinics. The framework agreement was announced on Thursday on the Senate floor by veterans affairs committee chairman Bernie Sanders and Republican Sen. John McCain.

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