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Decisive action on the VA

Two decades ago, I had the pleasure of working with a Viet Nam vet while lobbying on health care rationing for the National Right to Life Committee. He told me then that the Veterans Administration health care system was awful and he avoided it like the plague. When he told me that, I just assumed it was because the VA is like most bureaucracies: slow moving, impersonal, and full of people who are coasting until retirement . . . in 20 years. It turns out that is the most charitable description that can rightly be described as rotten to the core.

Because he is disabled, my friend is eligible for Medicare. He has an out, but many veterans don’t. They depend on the VA for their health care, if it can be called that. A few months ago it came out that VA employees were creating secret waiting lists in order to make it look like they were complying with regulations that veterans be seen within two weeks. In reality, the wait was months for many and coming too late for some.

One of the reasons they fudged the wait times? To get bigger bonuses.  It’s not true that no one has been punished for shenanigans at the VA. Whistleblowers are retaliated against, including one episode where nurses got back at a surgeon who complained by refusing her orders in the operating room.

There was a flurry of media and activity when the initial reports came in. But evidence kept piling on and other events were “fresh”, so the media moved on. And rather than the raids and carting people off to jail that you’d think the criminal neglect of veterans would have, there have been studies and investigations. The results of those studies are in and the verdict is . . . give the VA more money.

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I have no words so you need to go read Jimmie Bise’s righteous rant. He says it all.
And I agree with Dave. Burn it down, salt the earth.

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