American Elephants

Obama Was Warned About VA Hospitals 5 Years Ago! by The Elephant's Child


Investors and the Washington Times both reported that Obama was warned about the Veterans Administration’s wait time and treatment schedule five years ago, contrary to Jay Carney’s claim that they just learned about it.

On April 9, 2009, with his Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric Shinseki by his side, President Obama said, “As long as I’m commander-in-chief, I promise that we will work tirelessly to meet that mission and make sure that all those who wear this nation’s uniform, know this when you come home to America, America will be there for you.”

True, he has significantly increased VA funding on his watch. This upcoming fiscal year Obama requested a 3% boost for the Veterans Affairs budget. Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget request points out he has increased the VA discretionary budget by 35.2% since 2009. The question amid this scandal is just how this taxpayer money was spent.

Just months before the president made his pledge to veterans, VA officials warned the Obama transition team that the wait-times reported by VA hospitals were not to be trusted, and that bureaucrats might be cooking the books to make performance look better— and bonuses more likely.

According to records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon, the VA has spent $489 million to upgrade conference rooms, buy drapes and purchase office furniture during the past 4½ years. Though it doesn’t seem to be a matter of the budget.

On Fox & Friends, Monday, Dr. Margaret Moxness who was employed at the Huntington VA Medical Center in Charleston, W.VA. from 2008 to 2010, said she was told by superiors to put patients off for months on end, even after she told them her patients needed immediate care. At least two of her patients committed suicide while the waited for care between appointments. She left the VA after memos she sent to superiors were ignored.

In Dayton, a Daily News report said its investigation of a database of claims paid by the VA showed that the words “delay in treatment” were used 167 times.

The notable firing of the second-in command person in the VA doesn’t really impress anybody when it is learned that he had already announced his retirement this summer. They tried that trick before, and it didn’t work.

This is very odd.  It seems to be a system-wide — slowdown, lack of personnel, what? and long term. It has been going on for years, and whistle-blowing doctors complain of orders from “superiors.” We have a remarkable lot of corruption in government agencies, and no one seems to care—until it is made public that people are dying for lack of care.

Cover-ups sometimes work for a while, but policies become more scandalous when the cover-up falls apart. Better to fess-up in the first place, and face the music.

ADDENDUM: The White House responded to the Washington Times report on VA wait times.  They acknowledged Monday that President Obama was warned of problems in the VA years ago and said “that was why he asked Congress repeatedly for more money to try to improve care for veterans” Uh huh.

Press secretary Jay Carney said the problems extended back before Mr. Obama’s term. (He hasn’t gotten over trying to blame everything on Bush). Full investigation. Critics should wait. President right on top of everything. This isn’t what I meant by fessing-up. Has Obama ever been to blame for anything? Didn’t think so.

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When I heard that Carney was being asked when the Administration found out about these problems, I told the passenger in my car that Carney would say that President Obama first heard about them the same time Gen. Shinseki did, which was about the same time they were first reported in the media. Sure enough, Carney said that very thing. One day that well will run dry, and when it does it won’t be pretty.

Operations at the VA have been a scandal for decades (when I was asked about receiving my continuing healthcare through the VA, I declined and said I’d rather pay for my own), with the responsibility for the problems spanning both Democrat and Republican administrations. But Obama made his promises to fix the VA system a part of his campaign (at least 8 speeches touched on the subject in 2008, and 5 in 2012). Why didn’t he ‘fess up to the issue when he first knew about it (about a month after he was first elected) and why didn’t he say anything after he was inaugurated? Simple. He was trying to pass his healthcare takeov… er, reform. The LAST thing he needed was attention being drawn to the inadequacies, inefficiencies, and corruptions of a government-run health care system. And like it or not, that IS the model for government healthcare.

Shinseki (whom I have always thought was an officious jerk) should be fired. The administrators of the hospitals that were and are the worst abusers should be held to account. But it won’t happen anytime soon, because that would be an admission that everything is not perfect in Obama-land, and we can’t have any of that. All scandals are inventions of Fox News and the Koch Brothers. Obama and the people who work for him are faultless and blameless. And veterans who need the care they were promised will continue to get the short end of the stick.


Comment by Lon Mead

Obama has never been to blame for anything. I know the VA health care has been dreadful for years, but I don’t quite understand how superiors at so many hospitals can order their doctors to wait-list people. The budget is apparently adequate, and they are supposedly not understaffed, and that does not add up. Of course the Indian Health Service is reportedly dreadful as well.

I think the lying and inability to accept blame have been lifelong Obama characteristics. I remarked the other day that one of Obama’s most characteristic expressions was a pout— with lower lip stuck out. Just to see if I was being unfair, I Googled (Images) Obama-pouting, Bush-pouting, Clinton-pouting, and Reagan pouting. Obama – lots; Bush – mostly not pouts, but Doggone or the like; Clinton, mostly exaggerated on the golf course kind with a couple of exceptions; and Reagan didn’t pout.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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