President Obama is slated to speak directly about the Veterans Affairs scandal “soon,” reports CBS News White House Correspondent Peter Maer. “The sooner, the better” is likely the wisest approach as the VA scandal is beginning to spin out of control.
Just this past weekend, for instance, the Daily Beast uncovered yet another VA hospital involved in the scandal. According to whistleblowers at the Veterans Affairs facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, officials at the facility have already begun to destroy “records to cover their tracks.” And not surprisingly, the scandal for this facility revolves around the same exact theme – the use of “secret waiting lists” to hide delays.
This new revelation brings the number of Veterans Affairs hospitals accused of delaying life-saving treatment up to a total of seven. The worst case thus far is that of the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. As many as 40 veterans were reported by CNN to have died at the facility, simply because they were denied the care they needed and deserved.
How the President intends to deal with this growing scandal remains to be seen. Complicating matters for President Obama is his own statement in 2007 that shows he was clearly aware of problems in the Veterans Affairs system well before he won the 2008 election:
“When a veteran is denied health care, we are all dishonored. When 400,000 veterans are stuck on a waiting list for claims, we need a sense of urgency in this country.”
Plus, evidence suggests that the Department of Veterans Affairs hasn’t made necessary improvements over the past seven years. According to an investigation by Michael D. Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, the backlog of claims is 344,000. Add to this the fact that the VA itself reports an error rate of nine percent, although many outside groups allege that it is, in fact, much higher.
The following snippet from the Washington Times surely doesn’t help:
“The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal.”
“Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.”
Mind you, none of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s confusing rhetoric coincides with these facts, as is evident from the video that was recorded earlier this morning:
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