Friday, May 30, 2014

The Veterans Administration: The VA Has Failed - What Now?


The problems with the Veteran's Administration seem to be just beginning.  Apparently, in a cover up with regard to wait times, the VA has published false reports about veteran wait times in place of the real numbers for wait times American Veterans have actually had to endure with regard to getting healthcare access.

Making matters worse, VA officials received bonuses based on the false reports on wait times.  In fact, there have been reports alleging that many veterans were dying because there was such a lack of access to healthcare providers.

Compounding the problems, as vets return from the foreign wars with all kinds of health issues ranging from war wounds to psychological challenges, the VA has found itself overwhelmed with requests for assistance.

Eric Shinseki, former head of the VA, had resigned his position on Friday amid the breaking scandal.  Now President Obama faces the need to fill the post with a "FIX IT" man who can address the scandal and make sure the VA is fully funded and staffed to meet the needs of vets who are returning home and in need of medical attention.

Matters on this issue seem to be deteriorating rapidly.  Republicans have blocked the Veterans Bill from passing that would have given the VA more funding but Democrats couldn't find the votes to override Republican criticism of "pay-for" spending that was proposed by Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) Senate bill 1982. Apparently, Republicans find it absolutely necessary to deny funds to veterans who desperately deserve access to healthcare.

According the New York Times, veteran visits to healthcare facilities has grown by 26% over the past 5 years while healthcare staff has grown by 18%.  The $156 million budget has more than doubled since 2006. Additionally, Democrats are clamoring for more more hospitals and staff as demand is outpacing supply and will continue to do so unless it is matched with the adequate numbers of healthcare staff and facilities up to 2015 when the remaining troops stationed in Afghanistan return home.

In conclusion, the Republicans and Democrats have a mandate from the American People to meet this need. The VA system will need to be improved, if not overhauled.  There will need to be more hospitals and staff in place to meet the rising healthcare needs of veterans as they age and face new health challenges such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other healthcare matters.

As a final thought, it would be wonderful if Congress could put veteran needs first before the Almighty Dollar budgetary considerations.  Veterans have already more than earned their right to have their healthcare needs met by our great country.

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