Monday, May 19, 2014

The VA Scandal: Another Blunder In The Long List Of Progressive Policy Disasters

If Government Can't Even Treat Its Veterans Properly, How Can It Handle Health Care For Everyone?...NY Post Editorial Headline

  • In October of 2013, I wrote a piece entitled, "How More Pain, Misery And Dysfunction Will Americans Tolerate From This Government?" That article was written shortly after the government shutdown and the closing of the WWII memorial to veterans. In that very same piece, I addressed the cutbacks to military hospitals and the unacceptable backlogs of disability claims at the VA medical centers (those claims have been reduced by almost 300k from a high of 600k but largely due to claims being denied). In addition, the ObamaCare roll-out proved to be a total disaster during that very same period.
  • Today, Laurence McDonald, a contributor to Forbes, pointed out the following. In 2006, the VA budget stood at about $73B.  Today it's $154B. On the face of it, that may sound good: more money invested in the VA to treat our veterans. (Keep in mind, VA enrollment grew significantly because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). 
  • But wait! It's the following data points that should concern everyone. Even with the VA's budget being doubled, in 2008 the wait time for vets was 110 days. Today it's 360. Add to that, it now takes approximately 160 days for the VA to process a claim. Appeals can take up to four years or more. (A close friend of mine told me his appeal took over 5 years). Moreover, in the last two weeks, we've found out that as many as 40 veterans reportedly died because they didn't get the care they needed at the Phoenix VA.  In fact, almost 1,500 veterans at that facility were forced to wait months to see a physician. According to report, the VA kept a secret waiting list and also allegedly falsified report. 
  • But it appears it didn't end there. There are now reports emerging that secret waiting  lists were also the VA medical center in Ft. Collins, CO and in two facilities in Texas. Today, the American Legion reported they are investigating similar cases in 16 other states.
  • So as this most recent scandal plays itself out, we're left to ponder yet another casualty in the long list of Obama administration cluster f*cks that include, but are not limited to, the failed stimulus program, the failure in domestic economic policy, to the failed gun running scandal (Fast and Furious) to Benghazi (including the other blunders in foreign policy such as Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Egypt, etc)  to Obamacare to the IRS to the GSA to the NSA and now the VA.
  • After addressing all of these scandals and more, I'm obliged to ask again: How much more pain, misery and dysfunction will Americans tolerate from this administration? If the polls are correct, we've already reached an upper limit to our threshold for this abnormal and unhealthy governing. But I'm also obliged to ask: how many more Americans need to die before a majority of the country wakes up from this nightmare and declares: We've had enough?
Postscript:  Since this was posted,  the VA Secretary likened VA waits to waits at Disney World.  Yo Pal!  Disney studies their wait times and improves upon them. We can't say that about the VA.