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Obama: US takes VA neglect claim ‘very seriously’

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks, as he Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, left, welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in celebration of the seventh annual Soldier Ride. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks, as he Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, left, welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in celebration of the seventh annual Soldier Ride. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. will get to the bottom of whether veterans were denied help they needed at a VA hospital in Arizona.

Obama says he immediately ordered Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to investigate following allegations that up to 40 Arizona veterans died while awaiting medical appointments at the Phoenix VA Health Care Center.

Obama says he takes the allegations, quote, “very seriously.” He says an inspector general is also investigating.

Obama says he wants to ensure not a single U.S. veteran lacks the help they need. He says he’s increased the VA’s budget more than any other agency in his government.

Obama spoke at a news conference in Manila while traveling in the Philippines.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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