American Elephants

Gitmo Detainees Get Better Treatment Than The Veterans They Injured. by The Elephant's Child


Medical care? The al-Qaeda terrorists interred at Guantanamo, the small number described officially as “the worst of the worst,” get better medical care than our own veterans, some of whom are suffering from injuries caused by—the worst of the worst.

Most Americans have heard about the Veterans Administration’s “secret wait-lists” which reportedly contributed to the deaths of 40 veterans in the Phoenix area alone. They served our country with pride, yet they were left to die waiting to see a doctor. This kind of bureaucratic self-serving coverup may exist unattended by those who are supposed to attend to that sort of thing; but the American people respect their veterans and care about their welfare. They are our brothers, sons, uncles, fathers, daughters, sisters , spouses and best friends.

At Gitmo, there is a doctor for each 1.5 detainees. For America’s 9 million veterans who receive VA health care and the VA’s 267,930 employees—the ratio is 1 doctor for each 35 patients.

When Obama was president-elect in 2008, he and his staff were warned not to trust the wait times reported by health care facilities. Instead of fixing the problem, their focus was on closing Guantanamo and improving the conditions at the facility. The Obama people were sure most of the inmates at Gitmo were innocent, and there only because of the evil Bush. It took them quite some time, and the release of a number of those “innocents” who promptly returned to the battlefield and started killing Americans again, before they came to understand that they really weren’t innocents. Not something that you would admit.

You immediately wonder if this is due to a failure in funding. Since 9/11, the VA budget has increased by 235% from FY 2001’s $45 billion annual budget to FY 2014’s $150.7 billion. Medical care spending has climbed by 193% over those years, while the number of patients served went up just 68%. Some argue that the problem is all the wounded warriors coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. A Congressional Budget Office report that on average their costs were $4,800 in 2010 compared to $8,800 for other veterans using the system. The new vets counted for 7% of those treated, but only 4% of the health costs— largely because they are younger and healthier. Civilian employees of the VA are unionized.

According to a report from Fox News, Phoenix VA hospital paid staff up to $357,000 for doctor executives and $147,000 for nursing staff executives. On average doctors and nurses are paid just over half of those amounts. The gardening budget at the Phoenix VA hospital was over $180,000 in 2013. The facility also spent $211.000 on interior design.

Obama remains passive. He told us he was outraged, madder than hell, really angry, he pledged to hold folks accountable, all the usual. “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable” he said. “If there is misconduct, it will be punished.” So he will wait, this time, for the VA’s Inspector General to investigate the situation at Phoenix.

And then he went off for a fundraiser.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This mistreatment or lack of cannot be dismissed with a “didn’t really know depth of problem” by president or administrators. Everybody has known for years.


Comment by Carl D'Agostino

But Obama doesn’t know the depth of the problem that he was told about when he was just President-elect in 2008. He doesn’t know about problems because he only finds out when everybody else does. The VA has had a long history of being lousy, but isn’t this business of dumping records of the wait-lists and having vets die because their requests for treatment disappeared something relatively new? The Indian Health Service has been lousy for years too. The guys who are dying are not young warriors just back, but vets injured in previous wars and needing ongoing care. What I don’t understand as yet is the agency-wide cover-up or dumping of wait-lists. That suggests executive failure. Whistleblowers have said they tried to get superiors attention.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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