After the scandal broke, just over one month ago, the number of dead Veterans kept by our government on intentional wait list keeps growing. Although the Hawaii native’s service in the US Army during the Vietnam conflict was indeed honorable, the seventh Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs five-year term is marked. Eric Shinseki knew about the horror stories when he took office, raising his hand and swearing his oath, yet he failed to do anything to either fix or end the horrid practice of rationing our Veteran’s health care.
Shinseki’s term as the head of the VA is marked by intentional wait lists. Secretary Shinseki’s service is soiled with exorbitant bonuses given to under-adminstrators who failed to provide any measure of reasonable care for our county’s honored Veterans. Shinseki’s administration is riddled with dead Veterans whose care was more easily pushed-off than the falling tears of grieving family members. The impact of a careless administrator upon the family members is for the rest of their lives.
The family members of dead Veterans, who were kept on intentional wait lists while administrators were compensated, can never be made whole.
The mark on our nation, treating those who sacrifice all so that we may live as a free people, can never be made clean. The concern of future Veterans, worried whether America will keep its end of the bargain in a contract made for life, can never be eased or put to rest, especially when the man leading the VA knew about the scandal before taking office and assuming care for our country’s heroes.
For some in Washington DC, everything is made political, and everything is driven by administrative narratives, reeking of propaganda. From taking a blatant 9/11 terrorist attack on America by Radical Islam, and turning it into a “demonstration gone awry” because of YouTube and our first amendment, Washington DC has fed Americans a load of propaganda and has made quite a spectacle of itself. Now, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Hagel are both trying their level best to prop-up Shinseki, saying they each “have known the General since Vietnam”, and drooling on about how honorable his service was — keyword: “was”. Shinseki is rightfully being criticized by all sides of the political spectrum for his current service, or lack there of.
Thankfully, there are those few politicians that see through the fake plastic of propaganda and have within themselves the courage to stand for what’s right, despite any politics involved.
Eric Shinseki received his initial political appointment under Bill Clinton, first as Vice Chief of Staff and then Chief of Staff for the US Army, where he served until 2003 after publicly butting heads with Donald Rumsfeld, demanding even more troops for the War in Iraq. Six years later he was appointed by Barack Obama to serve many of those Veterans that he would have surged in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Barack Obama and Eric Shinseki were both debriefed by their official transition team about the horror stories within the Veterans Administration, especially regarding long wait lists, and a lack of proper care. Neither Barack Obama nor Eric Shinseki did a thing to solve the issues confronting our Veterans and their families on a daily basis.
While Shinseki says he is “mad as hell” and demands “swift action“, and Obama exclaimed he is even “madder than hell”, those Veterans who have died on waiting lists will never be mad again. Their loved ones will live with the pain of a government that left them to die until their time has come, and God calls them to rejoin their loved one, now lost.
To give a little proper perspective, my father served during the Korean War in the United States Navy.
He was stationed in Guam, and fulfilled his term of service to his country with honor. After a long career as a businessman, he finally retired in his mid seventies. Like several million Americans, my dad signed up for Medicare and paid extra for Medicare Advantage: a prescription drug plan that performed like supplemental insurance, before being eradicated by Obamacare.
Being raised in a large family composed of the Greatest Generation, Dad finally swallowed his pride and opened up to me about the difficulty paying for prescription drugs. He was spending several hundred dollars every month, for both he and my mother. I went through the roof because for over five decades, this honorable Veteran had no clue that he was even eligible for Veteran benefits, including $7 prescriptions!
This is how long our government has been playing hide-the-bunny and monkey-in-the-middle with its Veterans. Eric Shinseki knew about it. His job was to either fix the problem, or end it. Eric Shinseki failed at his job as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under his term, just one Veteran Medical Center (VMC) — in Phoenix, Arizona — reported that forty Veterans, who were placed on intentional wait list ranging between 1,400 & 1,600 patients long, have died while waiting for their government to keep its promise. What’s more, is there are several VMCs per state. Be advised, the number of Veterans being rationed care, resulting in death is sure to explode. Just consider that twenty-two Veterans comitt suicide everyday in America, and the VA epidemic has been reported in 20 different states.
If he has any honor left, after spending such a long time in Washington DC, then Eric Shinseki will tender his resignation and Barack Obama will accept it. If not, then Barack Obama will be hardpressed for rewarding such carelessness, or for ignoring it.
Anything less than Shinseki’s removal from office will be to continue the horrid practice of healthcare rationing of the very people responsible for providing the security of our freedom.
Caring for our Veterans while putting greedy administrators out of business, who doctor their performance-evaluations while vying for an undeserved bonus, is the second order of business.
A “swift action” that our government can take right away is to offer every Veteran an opt-out choice.
Washington DC has already increased the VA budget two-fold under Barack Obama, and that money is going to the same greedy administrators rationing our Veteran’s healthcare. The term “crony socialism” might ring a bell and is very appropriate to describe the situtation within the VA scandal.
Instead of spending billions upon billions of dollars to keep patients on intentional wait lists, until they either complain or die, the US Congress should give the Vets a choice. A couple of hundred bucks per Veteran, paid so that they could purchase their own private healthcare insurance would not only save money, but would also allow Veterans the kind of care that most every American enjoys. The ability to see a private, family doctor that is located right in their home town. Call it a Private Insurance Stripend, or Veterans Healthcare Voucher — eitherway, it would save money & provide better care.
Next, the Veteran Medical Center (VMC) network needs to be expanded. Allowing more family doctors, local clinics and hospitals to participate will not only broaden the possibility of care for our Veterans, but will also cut down on the exhaustive travel times made by Veterans to get to a VMC. Those private facilities willing to accept the same amount of money as the VA would receive, should also be rewarded by their country with a tax incentive. A tax write-off in return for caring for our country’s most deserving to those suffering from frivelous lawsuits might do healthcare providers some real good! The increased competition and amount of care available would also lower the cost of care.
Many Vets live near military bases, so making the Tri-Care system of the active military available to Veterans will also alleviate any burdensome wait list while driving down the cost of care for active duty military. It is shameful that our government now makes active duty military pay for the healthcare costs incurred while serving this country and our freedom. Military men and women don’t make squat! And of those few benefits once offered our military & its veterans, greedy VA administrators are now consuming in balance with undreserved bonus pay.
Finally, one of the most popular talking points about the VA scandal is that the problem is systemic. The bonus structure that currently awards administrators and doctors for keeping intentional wait lists, and low-balling appointment goals, needs to be done away with and replaced with Quality Care initiatives.
Instead of paying bonuses for keeping appointments, whose numbers have been easily manipulated for the gain of personal fortune at the expense of the health of our Vets, bonuses should be restructured. If those working for the VA are to receive any bonus, it only makes sense that they are compensated based on their impact on the health of oureterans. Pay bonuses to those making more Veterans more and more healthy, rather than low-balling appointment goals, keeping intentional wait lists and letting more and more Veterans die.
Below is a recent show featuring a twenty year Army Ranger (Keith on twitter) and a USAF Veteran discussing the above ideas on May 20, 2014. Since then, many different Congressmen (including Jeff Miller, FL-R, and Adam Kinzinger R-IL) and Veteran Representatives (the IAVA, CVA and notable Vets like Col. Oliver “Blue” North) have taken the solutions and are running with them. It is very appropriate that we thank you this Memorial Day weekend, for putting our Veterans, and their healthcare first.
May 26, 2014
Honoring Memorial Day 2014
- Segment 1 – 20 Year Army Ranger & Battle of Fallujah Veteran
- Segment 2 – Honoring Lcpl. Christopher Blake Rodgers.
- Segment 3 – RN Tees-OFF on VA Scandal with The American Legion & Rep. David Scott (D-GA).
- Segment 4 – Wrap: Defending the 1st Amendment