Open thread: Shinseki to testify on wait-list fraud in Senate hearing

posted at 9:21 am on May 15, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Today, VA Secretary Eric Shisneki will answer questions arising from seven or more VA facilities about wait-list fraud and the lack of accountability within the organization he’s run since January 2009. When the hearing got scheduled by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last week, the focus was on the Phoenix office, where 40 veterans died while waiting for medical assistance. A whistleblower alleged that the facility had faked the wait-list records and then destroyed evidence afterward, creating outrage on Capitol Hill. After the hearing was demanded, six more facilities have been alleged to have conducted similar wait-list fraud.

Shinseki will find himself on the hot seat at 10 am today:

As reports of serious misconduct come in from VA hospitals across the country, lawmakers are prepared to give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki the grilling of a lifetime on Thursday when he appears before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Shinseki, a retired four-star Army general who has led the VA since 2009, is prepared to tell the committee about the VA’s response so far to reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Health Care system. The Phoenix facility reportedly worked to cover up patients’ long wait times by creating a secret waiting list and later destroying the evidence.

“If these allegations are true, they are completely unacceptable–to Veterans, to me, and to our dedicated VHA employees,” Shinseki’s prepared opening statement says. If they are substantiated by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency’s independent watchdog, Shinseki says that “responsible and timely action will be taken.”

Shinseki wants to deliver a message of reform, but that may take a lot of convincing. He’s been in charge for more than five years, and the wait-list metric of 14 days was established three years ago. If Shinseki had just taken over the VA after this metric was established, or if it was a long-standing metric and the fraud a relic of his predecessor’s management, then the committee might have given him more room for this kind of promise. However, the problem clearly started and continued on Shinseki’s watch, and the number of offices that allegedly conducted this kind of fraud points to at least incompetence at managing metrics, if not coordination at higher levels than just the field offices.

Can Shinseki count on Democrats to shield him from demands for accountability? Perhaps, but Shinseki shouldn’t count on it. Sanders initially defended Shinseki before getting pressured into holding the hearing, and he may still be on board. But with dozens of veterans having died while VA offices lied about their customer service, it’s going to be difficult for anyone not to demand a few heads out of this scandal. We’ll see whether Shinseki gets asked tough questions, and by whom.

CNN’s John King says Democrats are starting to get worried, and they’re not getting any comfort from Shinseki’s prepared remarks:

Jake Tapper wants to hear from veterans about their experiences in the VA:

Maybe he could use a whistleblower or two from other VA offices, too.


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Comment pages: 1 2

“This happened like…a long time ago. Can I leave now?”

Bishop on May 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

New motto for the Democratic party…?

JohnGalt23 on May 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

CNN’s John King says Democrats are starting to get worried, and they’re not getting any comfort from Shinseki’s prepared remarks:

Why should politicians of any stripe be worried, this is about a government agency treating veterans like dirt, don’t the demorats WANT to find out the pertinent details so things can be changed for the better?

Any of you lefties want to chime-in?

Bishop on May 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Can Shinseki count on Democrats to shield him from demands for accountability?

Don’t hold your breathe…

On second thought…….

Electrongod on May 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Judy Pace from the AP already running cover for Obama. How is Obama appointing a high level bootlicker to look into it a sign that they are serious about this? And how did Morrissey miss that in the clip he posted?

lowandslow on May 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM

It has to be Bushs fault. Afterall the democrats are so perfect they never do anything wrong and why should they be responsible.

crosshugger on May 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Dems nervous? Nah. They won’t get nervous until Judicial Watch starts demanding that documents be released. Apparently that is the only way the American public finds out anything anymore.

chuckfinlay on May 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM

“Mr. President, it’s time”

DanMan on May 15, 2014 at 9:31 AM

I truly hate these “let’s discuss the politics and how it might affect the White House” discussions.

We have 3 highly-paid “reporters”, but no one is very interested in what actually happened. It’s only about the political fall-out.

pilsener on May 15, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Great, a WH insider is getting involved. Where have I heard this before? Benghazi. IRS.

Up goes the stonewall.

BuckeyeSam on May 15, 2014 at 9:32 AM

You’re doing one heII of a job Shinseki.

Bmore on May 15, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Bernie Sanders, Socialist, VT. Not an independent, a socialist who caucuses with the D’s. That should say something right there.

Mini-14 on May 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I suspect that it’s been stated elsewhere, but the people making these waiting-list decisions sound as if they make up a de facto death panel.

Anyone looking forward to Obamacare’s de jure death panel?

BuckeyeSam on May 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

For once, I feel a shred of commiseration with a member of this administration. The law promises veterans more than the grossly underfunded system is capable of delivering; no amount of political goodwill (not to say Shinseki had any) could fix that. The blame lies squarely with You-Know-Who the White House who chose to line his donors’ pockets and fund his petty anti-American revenges with the money that should have been helping our veterans heal and recover.

Rix on May 15, 2014 at 9:37 AM

I guess saying mean things about Rumsfeld and GWB wasn’t all that great experience in trying to run the VA.

If, as Army Chief of Staff Shinseki had a subordinate commander who had shown gross incompetence and had killed soldiers, would Shinseki had left him in command for five years or would he have fired him?

Time for Shinseki to go.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Nothing to see here folks, move along. shouldn’t we be talking about something more important like Nigeria?

oscarwilde on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

The lsm/dems have their talking points… they’ll defend him for as long as possible

cmsinaz on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Can we go after him for the real crime he commited while
Army Chief … that go*d**m black beret?

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

I suspect that it’s been stated elsewhere, but the people making these waiting-list decisions sound as if they make up a de facto death panel.

Anyone looking forward to Obamacare’s de jure death panel?

BuckeyeSam on May 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

It’s not a death panel. The metric rewarded keeping the time for an appointment at 14 days or less so that is what some VA employees were doing by cooking the books used for Congressional oversight. That’s led to some veterans dying from de facto neglect on Shinseki’s watch. He and his top administrators have to go in order to clean house and restore some credibilty to the system.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Can we go after him for the real crime he commited while
Army Chief … that go*d**m black beret?

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

This keeps coming up. I didn’t realize there were some many fashionistas running around the Army.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM

“waiting list, waiting list, waiting list….
Why aren’t we talking about something else?”

Electrongod on May 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Shinseki will end up being scapegoated, but HE isn’t the problem here. The problem is government health care itself — and THAT has the dems worried, which is why Shinseki will be fired as the scapegoat. Look for prominent dems to give statements that they’re “shocked that Shinseki allowed this to happen on HIS watch, blah, blah, blah.” They’re going to have to make it ALL about him to protect ocare.

Rational Thought on May 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Nothing to see here folks, move along. shouldn’t we be talking about something more important like Nigeria?

oscarwilde on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Time to start a social media campaign. #SaveOurVets

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

obviously, the Republicnas on this committee are racists.
because this guy is (insert protected Class here)

ToddPA on May 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Shinseki will end up being scapegoated, but HE isn’t the problem here. The problem is government health care itself

Rational Thought on May 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Shinseki is PART of the problem. Granted there are institutional and systemic problems but that is what he vowed to fix five years ago when he took the job. He and his top administrators have papered over deficiencies and created an organizational culture that fostered the wait lists. He is not a scapegoat, he is a co-conspirator.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Has Rand Paul come out yet, to say questioning this guy will
offend people?

ToddPA on May 15, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Shinseki: “Let’s just say I got to be a general and then VA Secretary because I could jam like Michael Sam…oops, sorry, I was mistakenly reading notes from my memoirs.As for information on the VA wait list fraud, that information will be forthcoming in due course. Please wait.

MaiDee on May 15, 2014 at 9:47 AM

It’s government healthcare…any questions?

HotAirian on May 15, 2014 at 9:48 AM

This is one reason why I don’t use my VA health care benefits. Remember the unclean dental instruments? I qualify for the benefits but I will not use them even though I pay for health care coverage myself.

Vince on May 15, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I have used the VA on and off for some 15 year now and I take some exception to this statement:

However, the problem clearly started and continued on Shinseki’s watch, and the number of offices that allegedly conducted this kind of fraud points to at least incompetence at managing metrics, if not coordination at higher levels than just the field offices.

This was happening long before he came into the VA picture, this problem did not just start with him. He certainly made it worse by lowering the standard wait time from 21 to 14 days, but this did not start on his watch. Lowering the targeted wait time was a huge mistake but it was driven by political reasons. The Administration wanted to be seen as strong on Vets and this change would show that to some extent even though it was never going to be met. It was good election year stuff.

The previous standard for appointments used to be 21 days for routine stuff. As all Vets know, that usually never happened either. A typical wait time at all of the VA Hospitals and Clinics I have used averages about 45 days to get to see an actual Doctor. Six months wait is typical for Specialist appointments in my experience.

For some time each doctor visit was limited to 10 minutes with the Doc. You could only have “one complaint” and they could only address that. I haven’t seen a VA doctor in over a year so I am not sure they still have limits like that anymore though.

They have been doing better IMO, but it is still not good enough and maybe these hearings will make the Fed focus on that.

Johnnyreb on May 15, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The VA has not had the greatest reputation for years. Although my father’s dealings with them, for the most part, were positive they have had some systemic problems. And it ought to tell a cautionary tale about Obamacare in general and nationalized health specifically. This is a department with a relatively large budget that “caters” to a pretty small percentage of the population and this is what happens.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 9:52 AM

This is where the Democrats will but on display after display of outraged histrionics and still do nothing. A general is someone they have no problem throwing under the bus, then write some more legislation that will be ignored.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 9:56 AM

How many times are we going to hear previous administration or Bush from the dems today?

cmsinaz on May 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Dude, those are old people. – Tommy the White House spokesman

MechanicalBill on May 15, 2014 at 9:59 AM

What was hillarys term. A willing suspension of disbelief?

cmsinaz on May 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Shinseki will end up being scapegoated, but HE isn’t the problem here. The problem is government health care itself

Rational Thought on May 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

He is the problem. This started 3 years ago and he’s been there 5 years. The fish rots from the head down and the VA should have been downsized and remade years ago.

Vince on May 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

The incentive system that Shinseki and other top administrators implemented to support their 14-day target can explain why the deceptive practice spread to so many different VA facilities – that carrot-and-stick system was the mechanism they used to implement the scheme.

ironman on May 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM

This is what happens when you give a guy a job just because he dissed your predecessor.

MayBee on May 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Come on Holder, at least one of the vets who died for lack of care had to be one of “your people”, isn’t there something you can do?

Bishop on May 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

This was happening long before he came into the VA picture, this problem did not just start with him. He certainly made it worse by lowering the standard wait time from 21 to 14 days, but this did not start on his watch. Lowering the targeted wait time was a huge mistake but it was driven by political reasons. The Administration wanted to be seen as strong on Vets and this change would show that to some extent even though it was never going to be met. It was good election year stuff.
Johnnyreb on May 15, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The VA is a huge, government bureaucracy which causes problems in and of itself but he is a political hack that has done nothing for vets.

Vince on May 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM

cmsinaz on May 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

That’s what they are going to do, blame W? Wow, just when I thought that excused has reached its expiration date, here it is again.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Sanders is giving open statements. He’s going to be a good cover for the problems. He’s already comparing general health care to VA care and saying there are problems everywhere.

He’s muddying the water already, these hearings will be a fuster cluck.

Walter L. Newton on May 15, 2014 at 10:12 AM

He’s already said he accepts responsibility. Case closed.

Kissmygrits on May 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

cmsinaz on May 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

That’s what they are going to do, blame W? Wow, just when I thought that excused has excuse had reached its expiration date, here it is again.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Come on Holder, at least one of the vets who died for lack of care had to be one of “your people”, isn’t there something you can do?

Bishop on May 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

You’re smart enough to know by now that we don’t have an Attorney General of the United States. We have an attorney general for Barak Obama.

In other words, the corrupt bastard isn’t America’s lawyer he represents Obama.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Will he be under oath?

mjbrooks3 on May 15, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Can we go after him for the real crime he commited while
Army Chief … that go*d**m black beret?

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

When the change was made with the beret the rumor was as a young Lt in Ranger training his fellow soldiers called him gook,chink,and slope.The Rangers wore black berets for years and he got his revenge by taking the beret away.Now they wear a tan one.

docflash on May 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Shinseki, all political hack, all the time. Worst military leader ever.

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Is there any office or agency in this administration that is not incompetent/corrupt? Given enough time every single department of obama’s admin would be in prison. This is what you get when you elect a community organizer and watch the morons he appoints to help him run the country (In to the ground).

inspectorudy on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Can we go after him for the real crime he commited while
Army Chief … that go*d**m black beret?

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

This keeps coming up. I didn’t realize there were some many fashionistas running around the Army.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM

1. Obviously, you never had to wear it.
2. It is an insulting ‘participation trophy’ and an it is an insult to those soldiers who earned their maroon/green/tan beret.
3. We can’t all wear what our Mommy lays out for us every morning like you, ya ugly bastard.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Have you checked your email lately? Lance has written you.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM

This man is a four star General who should have some integrity, but is apparently the playing the ordinary game of politics of a Washington bureaucrat. What a shame.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 10:28 AM

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Have you checked your email lately? Lance has written you.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Not the throwaway. I’ll check now. He could IM on Facebook though.

?

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

1. Obviously, you never had to wear it.
2. It is an insulting ‘participation trophy’ and an it is an insult to those soldiers who earned their maroon/green/tan beret.
3. We can’t all wear what our Mommy lays out for us every morning like you, ya ugly bastard.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

You know nothing about me you arrogant idiot.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

New motto for the Democratic party…?

JohnGalt23 on May 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Shouldn’t it be, “At this point, like, what difference does it make, Dude.”

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM

You know nothing about me you arrogant idiot.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Well, I know you’re as sensitive as a little schoolgirl.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Is McCain on this Veterans’ affairs Committee?

How long this morning, before he suggests bombing the Clinics?

ToddPA on May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Does it matter who they pick to run anything? They don’t know anybody capable or honest. Besides an agency this big is impossible for anybody to run.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Clearly it wasn’t a matter of money at the Phoenix VA:

Employees at the embattled Phoenix office of the Department of Veterans Affairs have been making millions in higher-than-average salaries and bonuses, according to federal records reviewed by Fox News.

The records were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by OpentheBooks.com.

They show that from 2011 to 2013, over $843,000 in bonuses was awarded to about half the system’s 3,170 workers.

The records also show hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars were spent on work that had little to do with health care. The hospital’s 2013 gardening budget was more than $180,000. The hospital’s interior design bills over the past three years surpassed $211,000.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Is McCain on this Veterans’ affairs Committee?

How long this morning, before he suggests bombing the Clinics?

ToddPA on May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Maybe he’s late because he got held up at the VA.

BuckeyeSam on May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

He just wanted me to let you know he was looking for you last night.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

The commies in charge of America are just getting even with the “Baby Killers” that fought in Vietnam.

Deano1952 on May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Shinseki is just a Yes Man. His military career was a special case of yes man makes good. He left a ton of folks behind who know what he was like, and like Lee Ermey said this AM on FOX, the buck stops at Shinseki’s desk and, by inference, he’s gotta go.

dockywocky on May 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Well, I know you’re as sensitive as a little schoolgirl.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Hey, I care more about things like veterans dying than some stupid beret incident from 13 years ago. I guess you have different priorities if all you care about is a stinking hat.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

The commies in charge of America are just getting even with the “Baby Killers” that fought in Vietnam.

Deano1952 on May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

It goes without saying they don’t approve of the military.

This is why these investigations don’t go anywhere. All these idiots have to make speeches and that’s all they do. And now McCain is inserting himself into this.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

let’s re-classify veterans as illegla aliens….then maybe democrats will start an all out war to fight for their benefits.

dk0sntrukt on May 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

He just wanted me to let you know he was looking for you last night.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Wow, lots of mail I didn’t see. I’ll get him on facebook. The other folks that have written, I’ll reply after work.

All you trolls writing my throwaway … funny stuff. Sample?

“… and it’s too bad homophobes like you didn’t die from HIV instead of decent human being worth having around.”

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

This is why these investigations don’t go anywhere. All these idiots have to make speeches and that’s all they do. And now McCain is inserting himself into this.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

CSPAN ruined real Congressional hearings. I suspect that the pressure will soon force Shinseki to make the “more time with my family” speech. The American Legion has already called for him to go and suspect the other big veterans’ groups will follow soon (perhaps after today’s testimony). The problem is just too wide to blame on rogue clerks in Phoenix anymore.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Museum opening…9/11/2001

No day shall erase you from the memory of time

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

CSPAN ruined real Congressional hearings. I suspect that the pressure will soon force Shinseki to make the “more time with my family” speech. The American Legion has already called for him to go and suspect the other big veterans’ groups will follow soon (perhaps after today’s testimony). The problem is just too wide to blame on rogue clerks in Phoenix anymore.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

You mean because it makes it possible for these guys to show off to the whole world instead of just each other? On the other hand how would we know at all what they are up to. I hardly ever watch it but I’m glad it’s there.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Museum opening…9/11/2001

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time“

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Apparently they’ve done a good job with that museum even after all the nonsense connected to it.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

“… and it’s too bad homophobes like you didn’t die from HIV instead of decent human being worth having around.”

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Very touching! These kooks have gone to Parody Island full time now.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

I saw that the “cross” made it into the exhibit. I’ll take the small victories where they come.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Apparently they’ve done a good job with that museum even after all the nonsense connected to it.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Indeed

The ceremonies are extra PC.

GWB and Laura are not there.

The thuggish Clintons and the commie deBlasio are.

There’s so much wrong with the land.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Well, I know you’re as sensitive as a little schoolgirl.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Hey, I care more about things like veterans dying than some stupid beret incident from 13 years ago. I guess you have different priorities if all you care about is a stinking hat.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Hey Sally, the VA has been bureaucratic nightmare for decades. But we’re all glad you could join the fight now that it can be turned into an election issue and you can get your outrageous outrage on.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Indeed

The ceremonies are extra PC.

GWB and Laura are not there.

The thuggish Clintons and the commie deBlasio are.

There’s so much wrong with the land.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Yes, I thought Bush should have been there. Giuliani was wasn’t he? Or was he only on Fox.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

You mean because it makes it possible for these guys to show off to the whole world instead of just each other?

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Exactly. They don’t really ask questions, they spout soundbites that sound good to the folks back home. It is all for the cameras instead of trying to get to the truth about the subject at hand. With cameras in the room, you are not going to get a single Democrat that doesn’t make the claim that Shinseki inherited all the problems and is a completely innocent victim of the Bush administration. Conversely, the Republicans will all claim that Shinseki has made any problems he had far worse.

The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle but not one Senator will take that tone with the cameras on them.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM

It goes in cycles. I throw it out there to talk with someone off line and the trolls see it. The outrageous ones are them daring you to answer to try to figure out who you are.

A good deal of it would make Bishop blush.

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Hey Sally, the VA has been bureaucratic nightmare for decades. But we’re all glad you could join the fight now that it can be turned into an election issue and you can get your outrageous outrage on.

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Wow, your spouse yell at you this morning? The dog make it clear that he can’t stand you? Or are you just a very angry and bitter human being who never got over the fact that the “unworthy” got black berets 13 years ago?

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM

I’m not sure I entirely blame Shinseki. He probably thought this would be a nice bureaucratic job where he just sat in an office and signed papers in between golf games. He probably realized what an impossible job it was but didn’t want to admit it. And now, of course, he is still going to try to cover his rear end.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM

It is my understanding that veterans can get treatment at any hospital of their choice. They don’t have have to go to a VA hospital. If I am wrong about this, please correct me. And, if they can’t get treatment at any hospital, the law needs to be changed immediately.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Col, Giuliani was there.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

It is my understanding that veterans can get treatment at any hospital of their choice. They don’t have have to go to a VA hospital. If I am wrong about this, please correct me. And, if they can’t get treatment at any hospital, the law needs to be changed immediately.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

You’re not completely wrong. I can use the VA. But I also have to pay Tricare Insurance premiums. There’s no magic free healthcare for vets that just allows you to walk into any clinic or hospital.

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Cindy, I have to go. Can you see if Lance still wants some help?

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I’m not sure I entirely blame Shinseki. He probably thought this would be a nice bureaucratic job where he just sat in an office and signed papers in between golf games. He probably realized what an impossible job it was but didn’t want to admit it. And now, of course, he is still going to try to cover his rear end. – crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Which makes him part of the problem. If he had any integrity he would raise enough hell to get something done and if it is not done, he should go to whatever forum to expose the problems to get the system fixed. The last thing he should be doing is covering his own ass.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

He just answered me on email so I’ll ask him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Which makes him part of the problem. If he had any integrity he would raise enough hell to get something done and if it is not done, he should go to whatever forum to expose the problems to get the system fixed. The last thing he should be doing is covering his own ass.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

You’re right.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Shinseki, all political hack, all the time. Worst military leader ever.

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Affirmative Action at its finest…

Similar to POTUS

txdoc on May 15, 2014 at 11:17 AM

This is how the Soviet Union was run.

The Soviet government ran everything. They had limited resources. They meted out care and resources slowly (and with very preferential treatment) on very long wait lists, but they always lied about everything and their official lists made everything look rosy.

Does this not scare the bejeebus out of anyone else?

Theophile on May 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Col, Giuliani was there.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

New York is damn lucky he was mayor back then. Can you see either of these last 2 idiots handling such a thing.

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Did he get his 4 stars from a Fruit Loops box?

txdoc on May 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Shinseki, all political hack, all the time. Worst military leader ever.

hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

He got rid of the hard-earned black berets the Army Rangers wore proudly. That was the beginning of the PC shitholes the services have become.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

You’re not completely wrong. I can use the VA. But I also have to pay Tricare Insurance premiums. There’s no magic free healthcare for vets that just allows you to walk into any clinic or hospital. – hawkdriver on May 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

In that case the law needs to be changed. The VA appears to be just another expensive bureaucratic boondoggle, whose budget can’t be cut.

SC.Charlie on May 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM

The culture will never change unless they change things so people can be fired.

butch on May 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 9:41 AM

It is a death panel if people died on a wait list due to government incompetence. Sarah Palin was right. The cover up is par for the course. The VA is a joke among physicians. It’s a place where deadbeat doctors go to work making 200k a year for doing little or nothing. I had patients who would go to the VA to get their prescriptions filled but go their own private PCP. The VA is a rest home for government “workers”. The GOP should make this a test case for what Democrats want to do for all healthcare. The government metrics are a sham. Compliance is faked. The same happens in the NHS. This will happen with all of ObamaCare’s attempts at influencing healthcare. Hospitals will fake outcome metrics like readmission rates and nothing will improve. Plus the VA budget has exploded since O took office…a test case for government waste and bureaucracy. Close it down. Let the vets get private insurance and allow the VA to concentrate on core issues like rehabilitation for injured vets.

breffnian on May 15, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

M240H on May 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM

You two get a f*cking room already.

Midas on May 15, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Meh…That was like 2 years ago, dude. Besides, at this point, what difference does it make?? And what about Boooooooosh??? Ya bunch of bigoted, homophobic racists…

bimmcorp on May 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

When the hearing got scheduled by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last week…

So the Democratics found Bernie Sanders a committee chairmanship on a committee that they thought was relatively insignificant and that he couldn’t possibly f up?

Kind of like Shinseki’s assignment.

slickwillie2001 on May 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Shinseki’s military career is proof of the peter principle. He was named VA Sec simply because of his attack against Dubya and his loyalty towards progressive fascism.

His testimony was a joke – promising action only if the IG investigation finds a real issue that requires action. It was little more than the usual dodge and spin from yet another Obama Administration apparatchik who is insulted that members of Congress actually want to hold him accountable for the malfeasance and lack of effective leadership throughout the VA bureaucracy.

It’s clear that what is foremost in the VA, and the Obama Administration, is not doing what is best for the veterans – but embracing and vaccinating the bureaucracy from accountability…that offering the appearances of doing its job are far more important than actually doing the job of treating and caring for our vets. That perception is more important than reality – and the one’s who get protected are not the vets, but the loyal progressive fascist apparatchiks.

Athos on May 15, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Who is this Pretzel guy. Is he Shinseki’s lawyer or something?

crankyoldlady on May 15, 2014 at 11:59 AM

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