Thursday, June 5, 2014

From Surviving a War to Surviving the VA

The latest scandal du jour to befall the Obama regime
is an especially sad and infuriating one. It involves our
military veterans and the Veterans Administration
system, from their hospitals to their offices.

Last month, information was leaked stating that as many
as forty veterans had died while waiting for healthcare at
VA facilities in Phoenix. Several whistleblowers averred
that thousands of patients were put on a list by hospital
administrators, a list that they wanted to keep quiet, and
for good reason: hospital staff were falsifying data to
give the impression that vets' waiting times for medical
care had lessened. If patients died before they could get
to see a doctor, their names were quietly deleted from the
list. Worse, similar things have been taking place in other
VA facilities elsewhere as well.

What has our Commander-In-Chief had to say about this
shocking occurrence? He announced his anger over the
matter, while also claiming that he had only recently
learned of this fiasco through media reports. But once
again, President Obama plays with the truth; he knew of
the long delays vets face at VA hospitals and clinics all
the while he has been in the White House, and had been
briefed on the possibility that wait times were not
accurate in his first year as President. While it is true that
inexcusably lengthy wait-times at VA establishments did
not originate with Obama, his reaction to the news having
been broken about the Phoenix debacle demonstrates
once again that he is a butt-covering liar.

While President Obama was doing what he does best,
Democrats in the House and the Senate went about doing
damage control. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
went for the favorite tactic of her party and the President:
blame the previous president. She blamed President George
W. Bush and the two wars that we entered into on his watch,
and the prez added that "these are the fruits of a decade at
war." The fact of the matter is, and it's a most inconvenient
truth for Obama and his chums, is that the backlog that the
VA system has been experiencing is due to the increasing
reliance on that system by Korean and Vietnam War
veterans, not the veterans of the more recent wars. These
systemic problems were neglected for many years.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinsecki, who had only
a few days ago resigned his position in disgrace over the
scandal, was catching barbs from both sides of the aisle
in bot chambers of Congress for not showing strong
leadership or accountability. Shinsecki said he was proud
of the reduced backlog in benefit claims(!), and said this to
reporters: "As I testified before Congress on May 15, I take
any allegations about patient safety or employee misconduct
seriously. The reports of veterans' negative experiences
while seeking VA care are of great personal concern to me."
Oh, really?

And another factor in the burgeoning backlog is benefit claim
denials, which can take literally years to appeal. Many cases
involve simple errors such as erroneous diagnoses and impro-
perly filled out forms, while some involve missing medical
records and other more serious causes making claim denials
occur. There are tens of thousands of cases appealed to be
resolved, most having been filed by veterans of previous wars.
A simple appeals case can take an average of 1 1/2 years to
get straightened out, and that's an eternity to a vet who needs
life-saving medical treatment and therefore cannot wait for
even 1 1/2 months. President Obama promised, while on the
campaign trail in 2008, fulfilling a "moral obligation" to care
for our veterans, and apparently this is just another pie-crust
promise made for the sake of conning the electorate with
emotion-triggering political rhetoric.  He boasted not long ago
that he has a pen and a phone to make legislation happen, going 
around both Congress and the Constitution if need be, to have
what he wants done. Why won't he use these items to make
legislation benefitting our veterans that would clean up
this bureaucratic quagmire, and hold those responsible for
it accountable? Ah, but Barry O has no love for our military
personnel past or present. Remember what he did with the
veterans' memorials during the budget sequester?

And a lack of funding was not a factor in this sorry tale;
VA spending had doubled in the prior decade to $140 billion
in 2013, and has increased by a third during the Obama
presidency. And it was not a lack of personnel that caused
this horror either, as the VA is the largest government
employer after the Department of Defense, with the VA
employing over 300,000 staff. That's an army in and of itself!
So that leaves the bureaucracy. Warnings of the systemic
problems within have gone ignored and blasted as partisan
carping (the Republicans had given the warnings, you see).
Now, we as a nation are facing the very real and very scary
likelihood that this will be our future where medical care is
concerned; stringently rationed care, delay or denial of service,
and a lack of accountability are the rule rather than the exception
for our vets today, will this be everyone's reality tomorrow?
Talk about a brave new world! And your faithful Peasant must
say, that I am too big of a coward to live in such a world.


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