Operation Enduring Incompetence

“What’s happening at the VA is shameful, but it is also inevitable. Once a federal bureaucracy is involved, the results are certain to be dreadful. It’s not because the people involved are all loathsome, but because they happen to be civil servants. As a result, they don’t feel the need to be personally responsible because they don’t share the same dread of being fired as those employed in the private sector.

“That is why I second the motion that the VA should be terminated and that our military veterans should have the same health plans as members of Congress and those civil servants at the VA who apparently learned their bookkeeping skills at the feet of those crooked accountants working for the Mafia.

“Another solution to the problem of veterans having to wait months, even years, to receive medical treatment is for them to become criminals. I mean, you never hear of an imprisoned felon being denied healthcare, do you? Hell, convicted traitor Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning even gets to have a sex change operation, compliments of Uncle Sam. And as you may recall, Private Manning’s military service was pretty much limited to swiping state secrets.” —Burt Prelutsky, Impeachment, the VA, and the NFL

“Modern liberalism involves centralized, bureaucratic authority and therefore presupposes administrative competence. But the caliber of technocrats chosen by Obama — including former health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki — throws the entire enterprise into question. Are the best and brightest really this dull?

“The more immediate problem for Obama is that the VA scandal comes in the context of a broader health-care debate. The VA health system is unapologetically socialized medicine, in a way that Obamacare (for all its faults) is not. But for the administration, the scandal is an inconvenient public reminder that the centralization of government power in health care has inherent dangers.

“The VA scandal is not only the result of weak leadership; it is typical of government-managed systems, which often ration care with waiting lists and lines. The demands on the VA have been increasing, with large numbers of returning veterans, some with complicated injuries, receiving recently expanded benefits. At the same time, the Obama administration has pledged to reduce waiting lists. The results? Alleged double-booking of appointments. Overburdened staff. And the gaming of lists to hide waiting times.

“Some liberal economists once referred to the VA system as a model for national health reform. It can’t help the cause of liberalism when the results of rationing, inherent in all government-managed care, are dramatically demonstrated.” —Michael Gerson, The VA Scandal Will Stick with the Obama Administration

“By now most American have heard about the VA’s infamous patient ‘secret wait lists’ which reportedly contributed to the deaths of up to 40 veterans in the Phoenix area alone. Those patriots were American heroes who served our country proudly. Yet they were left to die waiting to see a doctor.

“Here’s another secret the White House doesn’t want you to know about the VA. Al Qaeda detainees get better medical treatment than our veterans. … I know because I served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009 and visited Guantanamo Bay Naval Base over 30 times during those years.

“Despite the fact that Al Qaeda terrorists carried out the Sept. 11 terror attacks, killing 3,000 people in America, the admitted co-conspirators and their roughly 150 fellow jihadists at Gitmo have approximately 100 doctors, nurses and health care personnel assigned to them.

“Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call.  Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD?  No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.

“The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes. While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.” —J.D. Gordon, Al Qaeda Terrorists at Guantanamo Treated Better Than Our Vets

Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of the Veterans Administration could cut the VA’s patient backlog by as much as half, solving a national crisis.

“Almost half of vets are 65 or over, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage. Often they’d be better off getting their bypass surgery and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA. But the VA fails to tell them.

“The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees, or AFGE, the union that dominates the VA. For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program: The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets and more staff — never mind what ailing vets need.

“Nine months ago, the VA rolled out a $9.3 billion program to refer vets needing specialists to civilian medical centers, if the wait at their local VA facility is too long or they live too far away. AFGE is fighting the program, even accusing VA executives of deliberately causing the backlog. 

“AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. insists the only remedy is more VA staff. ‘Chronic understaffing’ is the problem, he says. How can he know? VA hospitals have no clue how many staff they need. A 2012 audit by the VA inspector general found that the agency’s hospitals lacked any method for calculating staffing needs, in part because of resistance to measuring worker productivity.

“In fact, vets are being discouraged from accessing civilian care even when they’re desperate and have insurance to pay for it. The VA’s health-care budget is based on how many vets enroll and how much care they use. For the unions, the bigger that budget, the better. Even if it means letting vets with Medicare who could get timely civilian treatment for their cancer or heart disease die waiting in line for care instead.” —Betsy McCaughey, How Unions Share Blame for VA Deaths

“A government that fails to secure its borders is guilty of dereliction of duty. A government that fails to care for our men and women on the front lines is guilty of malpractice. A government that puts the needs of illegal aliens above U.S. veterans for political gain should be prosecuted for criminal neglect bordering on treason. Compare, contrast and weep:

“In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens. In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

“In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease. In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America’s warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.

“In Arizona, illegal aliens incurred health care costs totaling an estimated $700 million in 2009. In Phoenix, at least 40 veterans died waiting for VA hospitals and clinics to treat them, while government officials created secret waiting lists to cook the books and deceive the public about deadly treatment delays.” —Michelle Malkin, How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

“[There are] plenty of angles to analyze on the VA scandal, but I think this one deserves a close inspection: Bradley Manning, a convicted criminal, was given special attention from the Pentagon, and will now likely be transferred to a civilian prison where he can receive ‘treatment’ for his ‘Gender Dysphoria.’ Meanwhile, veterans and free citizens of the United States have waited for years, even until death, for legitimate medical treatment of life threatening physical ailments.

“Never mind the fact that ‘Gender Dysphoria’ is a disease only recently invented and added to the Diagnostic and Statical Manual of Mental Disorders after years of political pressure from anti-science left wingers. Never mind that, without a salient scientific or medical reason to do so, the focus was shifted from treating the psychological delusions which lead a person to believe that they ought to be something other than what they unequivocally and biologically are, to treating the distress that stems from being a man stuck in a woman’s body, or vice versa. Now, rather than offer someone intense psychological and spiritual counseling to help them accept who they are, we give them hormones and mutilate their genitals to help them feel better about not accepting who they are.

“Never mind that. And never mind the smarmy sycophants who mock anyone who questions any part of Darwinian evolutionary theory, yet fall silent, or even join in, when the progressive chorus starts singing about how a man’s biological sex can be ‘changed’ by giving him magic pills and cutting off his penis. And never mind the quacks who take advantage of sick people by charging them exorbitant sums of money to deform themselves in pursuit of a goal that is, in every sense, literally unattainable. And even never mind the fact that Bradley Manning’s ‘treatment’ will come on the taxpayer’s dime. …

“The point, here, is one of priorities. It’s been known for years — decades, even — that veterans frequently waste away on waiting lists while do-nothing bureaucrats forge documents and cover their tracks. Yet nothing was done about it. But the first criminal military man who grew out his hair and told the world he’s a she automatically received the undivided attention of the top brass at the Pentagon.

“Haven’t these pencil pushing cultural Marxists in our government done enough to our troops? They use them, abuse them, send them all over the world for dubious reasons, wielding them like pawns in a global chess match. And then when they get home, battered and broken, their plight is ignored while a cross dressing convict takes center stage.” —Matt Walsh, Veterans Are Dying, But at Least This Criminal Still Gets His Sex Change

For further enlightenment:

The VA Scandal Is a Crisis of Leadership, by Peggy Noonan

Obama Should Appoint Mitt Romney to Run the VA, by Tom Quiner

Why VA Service Won’t Improve, by Mona Charen

The Senate’s Failed, Irrelevant Plan to Throw $20 Billion at VA Problems, by Byron York

VA Scandal Grows As Bonuses Went To Worst Hospitals, by Stephen Moore

VA Chief Quits, Cites Lingering Health Issues, by Scott Ott


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