The VA scandal is still alive and well, despite what traditional media will tell you. In the fast paced world of politics, old media has a way of letting problems like this move to the back of the bus, never to be heard from again. And with the VA scandal, things haven’t really changed much. This corruption has been going on since the mid 1940’s, and we’ve continued to sweep the story under the rug.
Despite the resignation of Shinseki, the problem hasn’t gone away as the Obama administration had hoped. Problem after problem continue to plague them and the VA. Even the new acting VA secretary, Sloan Gibson, is under fire. People are demanding answers and solutions, and the heat in the kitchen is getting hotter.
It wasn’t but a week ago did we hear that more VA hospitals were ‘cooking the books.’ Now we are finding out that despite the continued shortcomings, bonuses were still being paid out. In Phoenix, they amounted to $10 Million. When Gibson was questioned, he responded in a rather heated tone saying:
This idea that ‘let’s fire everybody, let’s pull everybody’s bonus away,’ that’s a bunch of crap. The fact of the matter is we have 341,000 people, and the vast majority of them work really hard to do the right thing, and that’s why we’ve got veterans that are well served the vast majority of the time.
Have we got problems? Yes we do. And I own them. From the moment I lowered my right hand taking the oath, I own those problems. And my commitment is that we’re going to deal with those problems.
This was in response to a proposal to cut bonuses and use those funds to fund a veterans’ suicide prevention hotline. There’s really only one problem with that! There are already hotlines set up for our veterans to use. Granted they are in the private sector instead of being government controlled, but they are out there. There are many other uses the money could be used for and bonuses shouldn’t even be on the list. But we all know lack of funding isn’t the driving force behind the mistreatment of our veterans. So what gives?
Initial talk is trying to point to an overloaded system. Admittedly, the system is under some level of stress. The amount of help for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is piling up, and on top of that the generation of veterans from WW2 thru Vietnam are reaching the cycle of life which requires more and more care. However stressed the system, they are still able to seek care outside of the VA.
Sadly, there is no definitive place to put one’s finger on as the actual problem. The investigation is in the infancy stage. And while it is easy to see that the VA was mis-managed at every level, the question still remains: How many more veterans will go unseen or die waiting for care?