Thank you, and Mr. Chairman, thank you for the work that you have been doing and for your maintaining the bipartisan spirit of this committee. So congratulations for all you're doing. Wanted to just say, make two points. First of all I want to thank Sloan Gibson and his boss Bob McDonald for the very impressive work they are doing. I understand as the former chair of this committee how easy it is to beat up on the VA. Running 151 medical centers, 900 C Box, there's a problem every single day, but you know what? In a nation which has a dysfunctional healthcare system, the private sector also has one or two problems, and I won't go into them but I think we should recognize that when you talk to the major veteran's organizations, the American Legion, the VFW, the DAV, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, you know what they say? And you've heard this Mr. Chairman, they say that when people walk into the VA the quality of care they get is pretty good. And I wanna thank you for trying to improve that Garrett. I personally will fight vigorously those who want to privatize the VA or dismember the VA. I think our goal is to strengthen the VA. I think our goal is to be creative in terms of using the new program that we have developed so the people can get care in their community locally. That's a good mix, but I will oppose efforts to privatize the VA which is serving our veterans so very well. I wanted to get to another issue and Senator Blumenthal touched on it today. I wrote a letter to Secretary McDonald about an issue that has concerned me for a while and that is the high cost of the drug, Sovaldi, which is a miracle drug so to speak which is now treating the veterans of our country who have very high rates of Hepatitis C. Mr. Chairman, to me it is an outrage that you have a company whose profits have soared in the last few years. Their revenues have doubled I believe in the last year they have come up with the drug. They are charging the general public $1,000 a pill for that drug. They're charging, I believe the VA, I don't know if this is a great secret but I will tell it anyhow, something like $540 a drug. Is that right? You're not, no comment, all right. But that's because the VA negotiates drug prices. But you're running out of money and we've got several hundred thousand veterans today who are suffering with Hepatitis C which can be a fatal disease and you don't have any money to treat them. And frankly I think that it's time to talk to Gilead the manufacturer of Sovaldi and basically ask them if they are apparently being very generous in providing these drugs, Hepatitis C drugs to countries like India and the Republic of Georgia for free. Very generous. For whatever reasons they are doing that. But maybe at a time when their profits are soaring, maybe they might want to respect the veterans of this country who might die or become much sicker because they don't have access to this wonderful product. And as Senator Blumenthal mentioned, if they are not prepared to come to the table and I know you think you've done very well by getting their prices down by half, I'm not impressed that you're paying 540 bucks a pill for people who put their lives on the line to defend our country. So I would suggest to them you sit down again with them and tell them that you're prepared to utilize federal law, specifically 28 USC 1498 to break the patterns on these drugs unless they're prepared to come down significantly lower than they are right now. It's not a question of taking money, I know you've requested to take money out of the Choice Program, maybe that's a good idea, but it's a better idea to have them treat the veterans of this country with respect and charge the VA a reasonable price rather than ripping off the VA as they currently are. And with that I would yield.
(INAUDIBLE) = Areas that could not be heard due to background noise, tape/phone line quality, muffled speaking, etc.