Another Source for the Problems at the VA
There has been a great deal of blather in the blogosphere and a ludicrous amount of professional punditry in the MSM regarding the situation in the Veterans Administration’s ongoing health care fiasco.
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that I am a Vietnam veteran with service connected health issues, and I currently use the V.A. medical system myself, so I have some personal and relevant knowledge regarding the issue under discussion.
We should recognize that the number of veterans who are seeking medical treatment from the Veterans Administration has risen with the number of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who need help. But the number of these newly added wounded warriors is not the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Too many people have immediately assumed that the returning vets were overwhelming the system, and that was the only reason for the long wait times for appointments that triggered the latest scandal in this administration. Yet according to credible reports, the scheduling problems have existed for at least a decade or more, so try as the administration might, blaming the “Bush Wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan is not believable as the proximate cause of the scheduling issue.
I think that this administration itself is a cause (although not the only cause) of the VA system being inundated with new patients.
I’m not saying that this administration started a new war somewhere that isn’t being noticed by the media, but I am saying that their policies, particularly their economic policies, have added to the number of men and women seeking to use the access to medical care that was promised when they raised their right hands and enlisted. These men and women honorably, and often heroically, served their country. They willingly put their lives in harm’s way to protect all of us. They weren’t all planning for careers as soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines, but they were willing to serve a term of service, and then planned to come back home and get on with their lives.
That was my personal story when I enlisted, went to Vietnam and returned. Yeah, go over, do what needed to be done, come home, get a job, get married, have a family. You know, the nrmal plan that returning veterans have had since their commander-in-chief was named Julius Caesar, Attila, or Genghis Khan.
But too many of our veterans came home to find that jobs, any jobs, just didn’t exist. Unlike many veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, who did find jobs, the newer vets couldn’t. So these newer veterans didn’t have adequate incomes and even more importantly, they didn’t have an employer who picked up the majority of the costs of health insurance. In many cases, they were forced by necessity to go to the Veterans Administration for health care when it was needed.
I know that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a major contributor to the design and development of what is usually called ObamaCare thinks that this lack of employer-provided health insurance is “…going to actually be better for people. They’ll have more choice, most people who work for an employer and get their coverage through an employer do not have choice.” I think that there are more than a few veterans who might disagree with the good doctor.
So the administration’s lack of providing any serious ideas for generating GDP growth in the 4% to 5% range for the past five years has destroyed any hope for an adequate number of jobs being created for these returning vets and as a result denying them really affordable health insurance.
And while this president talks a good game about honoring our veterans and holding them in high esteem, the actual results are more in keeping with other messages generated by the Obama administration that labeled the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as potential terrorists. Apparently if you are a jihadist who kills Americans the administration will provide significantly better health care than veterans who fought against these very same jihadists. Sean Hannity pointed this out recently when he said: “Think about this, for our prisoners at Gitmo, there is one doctor for every 1.5 prisoners. We have one doctor for every 35 vets! What’s wrong with that?”
The pressure on an overloaded VA health care system can be alleviated if we find these returning vets jobs, and if we end the ridiculous, unintended and catastrophic consequences of Obamacare on veterans, the civilian health insurance system. The first step in that direction would be to eliminate the rose-colored glasses worn by Obama and his cronies such as Dr. Emanuel who only see the rainbows and unicorns that they have created inside their own minds while blithely ignoring the piles of bat guano that the rest of America must slog through on a daily basis.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a two-tour Vietnam veteran and writes frequently about political idiocy, business and economic idiocy and American cultural idiocy. Jim also blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org