Newspaper column: Close VA hospitals and give veterans vouchers for private care

So, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned this past week as a result of the scandal over veterans dying while waiting to receive treatment at a Phoenix VA hospital.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller’s strongly worded call for his ouster surely tipped the scales. “The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s report provides a very disturbing view of what has been confirmed as a systemic problem at the VA. …” Heller said. “It is time for a leadership change at the VA at the highest level,” as reported in this week’s newspaper column in The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press and Mesquite Local News.

The inspector general report indeed called the VA’s problems “systemic.”

North Las Vegas VA Medical Center

The problem is not just systemic, it is endemic and pandemic.

You may keelhaul the captain of a sinking rust bucket, but you are still aboard a sinking rust bucket.

The problem lies not in who is heading this system, it is the system itself — pure socialized medicine. It is a bureaucracy that like any other organism has at its base the objective of self-preservation. No matter who you put in charge it will fail eventually, as it has done so over and over again between brief periods of improvement after one crisis or another.

The inspector general found that the Phoenix VA hospital staff lied about its waiting list, claiming veterans waited on average 24 days for their first primary care appointment, when the average was 115 days. There were 1,400 vets on the official waiting list, but another 1,700 had been excluded from the list.

A subsequent audit issued on the day Shinseki resigned revealed that 64 percent of 216 VA facilities reviewed had tampered with waiting lists.

A year ago, Obama was warned by the House Veteran Affairs Committee about “management failures, deception and lack of accountability permeating VA’s health-care system.”

In 1945 the head of the VA hospital system resigned after a series of news reports about shoddy treatment.

In 1976 an investigation of a Denver VA hospital found some veterans’ surgical dressings were rarely changed.

In 1986 the inspector general found 93 VA physicians had sanctions against their medical licenses, including suspensions and revocations.

In 2007 a commission reported “delays and gaps in treatment and services.”

Today the bureaucrats are still cooking the books in order to make themselves eligible for “awards and salary increases.”

Be thankful that when FDR signed the GI Bill in 1944 he did not create a system of veterans’ colleges or we’d have colleges as bollixed as the VA hospitals.

Read the entire column at Ely or Elko or Mesquite.

11 comments on “Newspaper column: Close VA hospitals and give veterans vouchers for private care

  1. nyp says:

    is the voucher with which you wish to replace the VA hospital system, to buy insurance? Or to pay medical bills?

  2. nyp says:

    What insurance company would ever sell health insurance to an elderly veteran and/or a vet with serious medical issues?

  3. Vernon Clayson says:

    nyp set you up, Mr. Mitchell, it’s unusual you bit. I believe the VA was set up with good intentions, not as a form of socializing medical care, and it’s not just about medical care, there’s education and home loans that have helped millions of us. I understand good intentions are soon lost in government bureaucracies but the VA operates under laws, rules, and regulations established by the geniuses in Congress, if there’s loopholes that allow individuals to fall through the cracks, it’s the fault of those SOBs. Perhaps some member of the Congress could step up and tell us he, or she, delved deeply into policies and procedures instead of just saying yay or nay to the budget. I’ve not used the VA but if it’s anything like civilian medical offices you find staff members harried and hurried but I’ve found doctors, the actual caregivers, to be competent and professional.

  4. There are no veterans colleges.

  5. Rincon says:

    Well taken Thomas. I could never understand the need for an entirely separate health care system.

  6. Vernon Clayson says:

    Veterans get college benefits and I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone saying that it sewed any of them up to a particular political party, it’s not quite the same as welfare programs sewing up recipients to the propaganda of the Democrats. As for “veterans colleges” there are the military universities, West Point, Air Force, Naval, etc., plus college ROTC programs that produce veterans by almost any definition. Those that have served don’t have to be the haggard, sick, helpless, and homeless to be called veterans, the vast majority are stable responsible citizens and the VA should be able to handle the rather small percentage of veterans that do end up requiring care. It’s really ironic the so-called public servants in the House and Senate don’t have grades of patient care as veterans do, there’s no triage with those bastards, they get first class priority for whatever condition or illness they have. They have a suspicious looking mole, they go to the front of the line that day, most of them probably have been thinking that’s the way it is with veterans at the VA. The geniuses in the administration and the Congress are at fault for whatever problems there are in any government program. Money from taxpayers is their solution, following up is the farthest thing in their minds.

  7. Rincon says:

    And we keep reelecting them because “our guy is OK. It’s the rest of those legislators causing the problem”.

  8. […] Throwing more money at a broken system is not the answer. […]

  9. […] 2014 it was revealed that the VA hospital in Phoenix was claiming veterans waited an average of 24 days for their first […]

  10. […] 2014 VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned as a result of the scandal over veterans dying while waiting to receive treatment at a Phoenix VA hospital. The inspector […]

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