Obama Admits Government is a Failure? VA Allows Vets to Get Private Care!

After several weeks of scandalous failure to provide timely healthcare to our military veterans, some dying waiting for care that would never come, the Veteran’s Administration has now decided to allow veterans to pursue more private healthcare options to improve their treatment. But isn’t government turning to the private sector in stark contrast to the theme of the age of Obama, one that holds that private business “didn’t build that” and that we need to further empower government?

On May 24, the Associated Press reported that VA chief Eric Shinseki has announced a new plan for VA hospitals and healthcare providers to work more with private doctors. Shinseki told the press that the VA is “increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care.”

Shinseki makes this concession as 26 VA facilities thus far have come under investigation for forcing sick veterans to wait for months to receive medical care. Up to 40 or more veterans died waiting for care on these lists.

The VA reportedly spent $4.8 billion on medical care given to veterans at non-VA facilities. That amounts to about 10 percent of the VA’s medical budget.

But many wonder what took the VA so long to arrive at this decision. Congressman Jeff Miller (R, FL) chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee released a statement criticizing Shinseki and the VA.

Miller charged the Obama administration and the VA of engaging in “an endless discussion regarding allegations, investigations and unreliable internal VA reviews” while at the same time “overlooking VA’s very real, very deadly and very well-documented delays in care problem.

Senator John McCain has also called for the VA to open up the opportunity for veterans to secure healthcare outside the VA system.

While that appears to finally be happening, the fact that government is admitting failure and opening itself to participation from the private sector seems to run contrary to Obama’s government-first, government-best mantra especially with healthcare in light of Obamacare’s desire to limit what the private sector can do on healthcare.

Obama has been quoted for two decades now extolling the virtues of bigger and bigger government. In 1998, for instance, he admitted “I actually believe in redistribution” when he was in Illinois state government.

The constant refrain from this president has been one of government empowerment, a policy best summed up in his “you didn’t build that” speech.

In the months before the 2012 presidential election Obama made a campaign stop where he insisted that everyday Americans didn’t create their businesses, didn’t earn their wealth, and didn’t build this country. It was government, Obama said, that did all that, not we, the people.

But Obama famously ran on the pledge to “fundamentally transform America” by placing government in the driver’s seat.

In December of 2013, Obama again beat the big government drum saying that “government action” has been “the driving force” for his administration and for everything this country has achieved.

Obama went further in a speech in Kansas in 2013 to say that the free market system simply cannot work and only government can assure a prosperous nation. He criticized anyone that imagined that we could have “too much government.”

By May of this year he was saying that anyone that was wary of government intervention was suffering from a “wrongheaded vision this country has” about government.

During another fundraising swing this year, Obama told a gaggle of California billionaires that the federal government isn’t spending enough money on big government and he pledged to do all he could to change that.

Barack Obama has spent his entire adult life looking for ways to place government above the people and telling fans to trust government and not the private sector. But all his efforts seem to be back firing. The President himself warned that if people don’t trust the government “we’re going to have some problems here.” This VA scandal is certainly a “problem.”

After several weeks of scandalous failure to provide timely healthcare to our military veterans, some dying waiting for care that would never come, the Veteran’s Administration has now decided to allow veterans to pursue more private healthcare options to improve their treatment. But isn’t government turning to the private sector in stark contrast to the theme of the age of Obama, one that holds that private business “didn’t build that” and that we need to further empower government?

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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  • Hank_M

    Obama isn’t admitting Govt is a failure. As far as he’s concerned, vets are the failures and he could care less about them. He just wants this to go away.
    He knows he can’t claim Repubs are politicizing it. He can’t claim Vets are being screwed because he’s black. He can’t blame Bush although that shrew Pelosi has.
    He just wants this gone, as he does the vets and anyone who supports them.

    • jim_m

      Actually, his biggest regret is that this was discovered at all. He’d rather that these vets just die because they tend to vote GOP, a fact that probably lead to some of the neglect.

  • ackwired

    Before 9/11 VA care was recognized as some of the most advanced in the country. They pioneered digital record keeping and provided excellent care for qualified veterans. When their resources got stretched, they required us vets to choose if we wanted to use our VA healthcare in the future or not. If we chose not to, we could never use it again. This allowed them to continue to provide excellent care to their remaining patients.
    As Robert Gates points out in his book, “Duty”, after 9/11 funding was never increased to provide for the increased load on the VA. After all, it would have required a tax increase to pay for it. The result was that it collapsed under the load. None of this excuses management for lying about it. They should have told the truth and taken their firing like men. But it is an excellent example of how we are lying to ourselves to keep government spending at a level that we refuse to fund.

    • jim_m

      Another ahistorical piece of BS from Ackwired. Apparently the world started on Sept 11, 2001 and nothing was ever wrong before that.:

      1976 — A General Accounting Office investigation into Denver’s VA hospital finds numerous shortcomings in patient care, including veterans whose surgical dressings are rarely changed. The GAO also looked at the New Orleans VA hospital, and found ever-increasing patient loads were contributing to a decline in the quality of care there, as well.

      1986 — The VA’s Inspector General’s office finds 93 physicians working for the agency have sanctions against their medical licenses, including
      suspensions and revocations, according to a 1988 GAO report.

      1991 — The Chicago Tribune reports that doctors at the VA’s North Chicago hospital sometimes ignored test results, failed to treat patients in a timely manner and conducted unnecessary surgery. The agency later takes responsibility for the deaths of eight patients, leading to the
      suspension of most surgery at the center, the newspaper reported.

      1993 — VA Deputy Undersecretary of Benefits R.J. Vogel testifies to Congress that a growing backlog of appeals from veterans denied benefits is due to a federal court established in 1988 to oversee the claims process, the Washington Post reports. The VA, Vogel tells the lawmakers, is “reeling under this judicial review thing.”

      1999 — Lawmakers open an investigation into widespread problems with clinical research procedures at the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center. The investigation followed years of problems at the hospital, including ethical violations by hospital researchers that included failing to get consent from some patients before conducting research involving them, according to the Los Angeles Times.

      And that is only SOME of the stuff from before 9/11. The VA has been broken for decades and this is not something you leftist a-holes can blame on Bush (not that you aren’t trying).

      • ackwired

        As usual, nothing Jim says contradicts my statements. He has to make up something for me to believe, ” the world started on Sept 11, 2001 and nothing was ever wrong before that” so that he can argue against it.

        Business as usual from Jim…much heat, little light.

        • jim_m

          Before 9/11 VA care was recognized as some of the most advanced in the country.

          I think I just debunked that line of bullshit from your original comment. Of course you are just to dimwitted or dishonest to admit that fact.

          Unless you meant that they were the most advanced in neglect of patients, in employing unlicensed physicians, in performing unnecessary surgeries, in declining treatment, in ethical violations, or in the unnecessary deaths of patients.

          • ackwired

            I don’t think you debunked anything. You found a few problems occurring over a 25 year time span and used a little anecdotal evidence to try to bridge to a general conclusion. You did not even address my points. The VA has had problems through the years, and has not always provided adequate service to our veterans (did you ever walk through a VA hospital in the 70′s?). But in the late 80′s it was recognized that they were getting their act together, that they had limited the number of patients to what could be handled by their budget, and they were pioneering advancements in health records.

          • jim_m

            And you did nothing to substantiate that they were believed by anyone to be the forefront of medicine. Having a digital medical record is not delivering good healthcare.

            You have bizarre ideas about what healthcare is. All of them seem to fail to include actually treating the patient.

            As t the VA getting its act together n the 80′s, the rate of failures have actually accelerated since then. The VA has never had a reputation for quality. Anyone who could avoid them has done so. My father sure as hell has as he knew that the very last place to go for a cardiac condition was the VA. You might as well just buy a cemetery plot.

          • jim_m

            Even you admit that I am correct without saying so. You have climbed down from saying “VA care was recognized as some of the most advanced in the country.” and now you claim, “The VA … has not always provided adequate service…. But in the late 80′s it was recognized that they were getting their act together.”

            So they delivered some of the most advanced, if inadequate healthcare and after decades of failure finally were getting their act together when 9/11 happened. And then you claim that after 9/11 that the nearly tripling of budget between 2001 and 2012 was no increase at all.

            Face it, you’re full of crap and everyone sees it. Even you recognize it but are too embarrassed to admit it.

          • ackwired

            Hmmm…nothing positive is ever going to happen here. Enjoy your ego.

          • jim_m

            I will enjoy being right in this case.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Project much?

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Don’t let the door hit you in your fourth point of contact…

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          I down ding this vacuous and factually incorrect comment.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          Menwhile hackcabled is almost up to the prevaricator in chief’s level of dishonesty…

    • Hank_M

      Re: “As Robert Gates points out in his book, “Duty”, after 9/11 funding was never increased to provide for the increased load on the VA.”

      According to a report by the Congressional Research Office report dated June 13th 2012, The VA budget was as follows for the years 2001 – 2012. Note,amounts are in millions.

      2001 $48,665.2
      2002 $53,495.0
      2003 $59,673.1
      2004 $63,824.8
      2005 $69,436.4
      2006 $73,736.8
      2007 $82,013.8
      2008 $90,525.5
      2009 $99,447.3
      2010 $112,694.6
      2011 $124,383.5
      2012 $125,304.3

      Per the summary….”The increases over time have reflected the impact of increases in the number of veterans as the result of wars and other conflicts, the aging of the veteran population, and changes in benefits and services provided for veterans.”

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

        As always, what ackwired believes is demonstrably false.

        In other news water remains wet and fire will indeed burn us.

      • jim_m

        Ackwired will now post a comment complaining that you have ignored his comment and that you don’t know how to read.

      • ackwired

        Thanks…an increase of about 10% per year. Perhaps Mr Gates is a liar.

        • jim_m

          Or maybe just you.

          Just note that the increase is more than 3x the rate of inflation.

        • Hank_M

          Don’t know if Gates is a liar, probably mistaken.
          But it does show that solving problems requires more that simply throwing more money at them – education being the prime example.

        • Jwb10001

          Gates is simply trying, as all political types do, to deflect the blame to the most despised group of people in the country, congress. So yes it is technically a lie, but I suspect he would say that the rate of increase is less than it had been at some point in the past and therefore amounts to no increase at all, DC econ 101.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      I down ding this completely false comment.

  • Paul Hooson

    This VA service problems didn’t start with this president. My father was in the Korean War in 1950 and when he required VA hospital care, the service was simply awful. Even the outgoing President George W. Bush warned the incoming President-elect Obama about the bad veteran’s services. These VA problems are a good 60 years or more old and traditional to this institution.

    • jim_m

      Tell it to Ackwired who believes that prior to 9/11 the VA was the finest medical service in the world.

      • Paul Hooson

        My dad believed the only good veteran’s benefit was the home loan program, because it sure wasn’t the VA hospital.

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