Dr. Toby Cosgrove on turning down chief VA job: 'I didn't think we were going to make a significant difference'

In an interview with Fox 28 News, Toby Cosgrove, MD, explained why he turned down the opportunity to serve as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secretary under both the Trump and Obama administrations.

The former CEO of the Cleveland Clinic said he turned down former President Barack Obama's offer for the position because he didn't think the administration could make meaningful change during its final 18 months.

He said he turned down President Donald Trump's offer for the role because he didn't think lawmakers were interested in the changes he wanted to implement.

"I turned President Trump down for that job because I didn't think we were going to make a significant difference and I really didn't want to tilt windmills," Dr. Cosgrove told Fox 28 News. "You know, I am a veteran and I feel strongly that veterans ought to get the best care they can, and I think the way to do it is to give them a choice."

Dr. Cosgrove, who now serves as an executive adviser to Google's Cloud business, also discussed a range of industry topics, including rising healthcare costs.

"If you're sick, the U.S. is the best place in the world to get taken care of, no question about that. What we have to do is control the cost. We have to deal with issues that are driving up costs," he said.  

Despite the downsides of U.S. healthcare, Dr. Cosgrove pointed to how far the industry has come during the past decade and the amount of innovation that has changed the lives of thousands of patients.

"Stop and think about what we've seen about healthcare over the last three decades. Many cancers are being cured –– better diagnosis. The things that we can do now are vastly different," he said.

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