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VA performance worsens with more money

Government in action! A new report has found that the billions in increased funding given to the Veterans Administration to fix its problems apparently only made things worse.

The report, obtained by CNN but slated for public release Wednesday, highlights a variety of “deficiencies” that contribute to health care issues within the agency, including flawed governance, insufficient staffing, inadequate facilities, antiquated IT systems and inefficient use of employees. The commission also criticized changes that have been implemented since the scandal became known, including the VA’s Choice Program. The system was set up in 2014 to alleviate wait times by enabling veterans experiencing month-long delays or more to seek private care. The report states the program has only “aggravated wait times and frustrated veterans” due to confusing eligibility requirements and conflicting processes for coordinating with private health care providers.

As a solution, the commission recommends establishing a “VHA Care System,” which would function as a network of VA, Department of Defense and VA-approved private healthcare providers available to all enrolled veterans.

First, notice that the solution of this government report is a new layer of bureaucracy. That should fix things, eh? Second, note that the VA is really nothing more than what the left likes to call a “single-payer” system, whereby healthcare is entirely run by the federal government, which is the system the left still sees as the only solution to the failures of Obamacare. That should fix things too, eh?

Finally, the report demonstrates again that giving more money to a failed federal program will not fix it. The real solution is to kill the program entirely and start fresh.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Localfluff

    As a foreigner it is hard to believe that you don’t take care of your veterans. I would not have believed that this would be a problem in the US. Don’t they have priority health care and good pensions? You send people into battle without taking care of them? That’s bad. It’s uncivilized.

  • Localfluff: Your comment indicates you have absolutely no idea what this whole issue is about. And being ignorant, you then make the mistake of expressing an uninformed opinion. Big mistake. Makes you look very silly.

    The Veterans administration (VA) is a government agency specifically created to provide free healthcare to all American veterans. The problem here is that it is a government agency, which has not surprisingly resulted in a corrupt, poorly run operation that has served our veterans badly.

  • Garry

    Actually, several years ago the VA dropped coverage for many veterans. I found out from a newspaper, the day the new policy went into effect. If I remember correctly, veterans who were using the system were grandfathered in for a time, but those (like me) who didn’t stay in long enough to get a retirement were no longer eligible.

    I made a point to get a physical from the VA just after I got out, to discover any medical problems that might be lurking, as if they were detected early they would be taken car of. I have to say that the physical was at least as thorough as any I had ever had, and the whole staff was very professional. I had it at a VA hospital that was otherwise unavailable to me.

    Even though I could have used cheap medical coverage, I never went to the VA after that; several relatives and friends had had horrendous experiences, the staff at the local VA facilities who cared were severely overworked, etc.

    Main point being: although the VA may have originally been designed to provide healthcare for all veterans, that is no longer the case.

  • Garry: I hadn’t known that the VA had instituted polices that now exclude some vets. However, I am not surprised. As originally formed, the VA’s mission was to cover all vets. Being a government agency, it naturally does things poorly and inefficiently, which costs a lot. Eventually, and routinely, either government agencies find they can no longer provide the same services they did originally, or the legislature discovers it can no longer afford to pay the bill for those same services. Either way the result is that the agency is soon no longer required to fulfill its original mission.

    In a sane world, we would fire the agency and find a better way to do it. In the insane world we live in now, we make believe the original mission is being achieved, even when it is failing badly.

  • PeterF

    I suspect that this is a situation of “We are incompetent at our jobs. Maybe if you paid us more we would become competent.” Besides, you can’t fire them unless they are convicted of a criminal act. Kind of like the teachers unions.

    Full disclosure: I am a retired air force Master Sergeant.

    I accidentally purchased a home in an area not served by a VA hospital. I also happen to be in an area that is not covered by TRICare. I personnally experienced several incidents of horrible service under TRICare in other areas of the country. Here I am covered by US Family Health, managed by Tufts health care system. Recently experiences make me very glad that I am covered by this system.
    Example: I was stunned when I was told that I needed a CT scan. I asked when the earliest appointment was available. I was told “Immediately, where is the most convenient location for you?”. There were 5, (five) imaging locations within a 20 minute drive. Pick one. I have heard that the wait time in Canada is six to eight months.
    I would recommend that the present TRICare system for vets be scrapped and the US Family Health Care system be be adopted nation wide. But one size fits all never works and it would probably just screw things up.

  • Max

    In a very small town, children were having trouble crossing a busy highway to go to school. So it was decided in town council that they would hire a crossing guard. Not knowing the reliability of a minimum wage worker, they hired a foreman to watch over the crossing guard. To meet payroll and insurance, they hired a clerk.
    In the next town meeting they found out that they exceeded their budget… So they fired the crossing guard.
    This is the way government runs things.

  • Localfluff

    Sweden has had a symbolic troop in Afghanistan. There was a news story a few years ago about a soldier who got severely injured by driving over a land mine. He did not get any “sick leave” money, which is 80% of the ordinary salary, because he did not send in the application form in time. One has to do it within a month or so. The salary for a soldier in Sweden is $2,000 a month. Cost of living is even higher here than in the US. I myself broke my teeth as a conscript. They subsidized the reparation of them only during the first 7 years, since then I have to pay thousands of dollars to keep that stuff working, since it is an old low budget reparation and real surgery would cost more than I own. The highest taxes in the world against work, against enterprise, against savings is not enough to finance health care for people the government has injured. As a forced conscript I got $100 a month. Conscription has since been abolished. So the king doesn’t care for you even though you risk your life for him. The king is a bastard. I thought that the US, with its active military culture (in Sweden war stuff it is just history and a ploy no one takes serious, it never happens to us, you know), would take care of its vets.

    7 out of 10 Swedish soldiers recently said in a big enquete that they cannot solve their task because of lack of training, equipment, staff, strategy, readiness and organization (and I’d add lack of moral because of the above). 8 out of 10 said that they intend to quit and get a real job instead. Combine that with our isolation from any military alliances and the government’s provocative cold war against Russia and against Putin personally, our prime minister calls him Hitler (but he called John Kerry “Kennedy” when they met, so no one takes him seriously). Finland officially complains that Sweden is a complete vacuum that destabilizes Scandinavian security. Sweden has the smallest military of all countries in the world! Our smallest neighbor, Estonia, has 25% more soldiers, they are a military great power compared to us. Especially since Sweden has no air defense and no artillery. It has to be one of the worst mismanaged organizations in human history. There is no political debate at all about the topic, everyone is happy. I admire US politics, you always complain about it, but it is really very great, efficient, intelligent, tolerant. It is much worse in the rest of the world.

  • BSJ

    Yeah, You have to Retire or get a Service Related Disability to get VA care. Been that way for a long while…

    I’m a Gulf War Vet who didn’t stay in long enough to retire. Even if I had something ‘eligible’ wrong with me, I’d only go to the VA as a desperate LAST resort!

    My father-in-law retired from the Navy in the 70s. His benefits were steadily cut as time went on. I saw that happening to him and knew the same would have happened to me, if I had stayed in!

  • wayne

    Brief story illustrating the opposite of trying to get into the VA system. (This still befuddles me to no end.)

    My Dad served in the Army Air Corp 1944-1946. (No service-related injury, etc. did his gig and went back to real life.)
    When he signed up for Medicare at retirement, they plugged him into the VA system. ( I assume to capture VA money through Medicare? >Never did figure that out & nobody wanted to tell us.) (he had Medicare + private medi-gap & Rx insurance from Blue Cross.)

    There were no problems for 15 years, his regular civilian Dr. took his Medicare & BC, & all was fine.
    About 10 years ago, his Doctor informed us the Medicare billing’s were being rejected, following 6 months of confusion, he was told he must go to our local VA center for ANY medical care. In addition, his medi-gap & Rx insurance started rejecting claims for prescription drugs & associated lab-work. They (BC/BS) told us “if the VA didn’t Rx the meds, we aren’t paying for them.”
    Fortunately, after that happened, I was able to fund his medical care largely out of my own pocket & for the last 14 months of his life, that’s how it went down.

    I would say, the actual on-the-ground people at the VA were very nice to us, except for the billing-department. (They reminded me of the DMV, and all were unionized Federal employee’s. I got so sick of dealing with them, it was almost a blessing when I started paying for stuff , not at the VA, myself.)

    The VA, is a microcosm of things to come. The VA is run like the entire British National Health System.

  • BSJ

    That reminds me. A couple months ago I got a envelope in the mail from the local VA. In the envelope was the last half a VA form. Hand written on the bottom was a note saying “Fill out and return” signed with the first name of some woman. (No return postage envelope was included.) The form was for reporting my income information for the last year!

    Fearing someone had stolen my identity and was using it to access VA benefits I started a two day hunt to find out who this woman was and why she wanted my income info. It turns out that because I had visited the VA for my post separation Gulf War physical back in the mid 90’s I was “In the system”. And she was told to send that form to anyone “In the system”.

    She sounded annoyed that I was bothering her! And finally said I didn’t have to send it back if I didn’t want to… Duh, like I was going to anyway!

    I frightens me to think of all the other people “in the system” that just forked over their private information without even thinking about it.

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