Things still awful at the VA

Receiving little to no coverage toward the end of the week was the fact that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs still 1) has no idea what it is doing 2) has no clue how many people have died waiting to receive care. Via Fox News:


It can’t count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can’t get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low.

Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the department in response to headline-grabbing woes, but the VA continues to be plagued by missteps, including an internal report indicating that nearly one-third of veterans with pending applications for VA health care likely have already died. VA officials said they were unable to determine how many veterans died, whether they truly were seeking VA health care or had merely indicated interest in signing up.

To make matters worse, the VA said this week it may have to shut down some hospitals as soon as next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year. The VA says it needs to cover a budget gap caused by a sharp increase in demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for the deadly hepatitis C virus.

Now, [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ], to his credit, said during a press conference that it looks to him like only two people have been fired over all this. The VA denies this, saying that the number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500. Congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001144′ ] is pushing legislation that would make it easier to fire people at the VA, which is frankly something that needs to be passed across the entire federal bureaucracy.


We are seeing very little reporting on this, despite the fact that nothing has gotten better and, if anything, things are looking worse. Whether they have fired two employees or two thousand, the fact of the matter is that there is no appearance of anything getting better. Reports that we do see show the ills of the department and nothing more. This isn’t just some case of Republicans wanting to shrink the public sector by firing people – though that wouldn’t hurt, either – but rather a case of supreme mismanagement of resources within a department that has value to the nation.

Did you know a VA project in Denver is $1 billion over budget? Did you know they have a budget shortfall of $2.5 billion? If people are literally dying while waiting for treatment at the VA, then where is this money going?


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