President Trump signed a Veterans Affairs bill into law Friday which is designed to make it easier for the agency to fire problem employees. From CNN:
“For many years, the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans. We all remember the nightmare that veterans suffered during the VA scandals that were exposed a few years ago,” Trump said during remarks in the East Room of the White House.
“Veterans were put on secret wait lists, given the wrong medication, given the bad treatments, and ignored in moments of crisis for them,” he said. “Many veterans died waiting for a simple doctor’s appointment. What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls. Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”
“Today,” Trump said, “we are finally changing those laws.”
This is one of the few things that has happened since the 2016 election which has had strong bipartisan support. The bill passed 368-55 in the House and was approved unanimously in the Senate. CNN credits Trump with keeping one of his campaign promises, one of the few times I can remember CNN giving the President positive marks for anything.
But CNN also published a new video story today pointing out that problems with wait times at the VA have not disappeared since they were first discovered in 2014. Eric Hannel, the lead investigator for the House Veterans Affairs Committee tells CNN, “It was that way in 2014 when you reported on the wait time scandal; it is that way in 2017. You still cannot trust VA’s information.” This clip is worth four minutes of your time:
The CNN report on problems at the VA is being released in the middle of the extremely contentious debate over repealing (or altering) of Obamacare. The VA is a completely socialized health care system, a step beyond single-payer, and it is an ongoing disaster. That ought to be part of the discussion about where our system is going, but for some reason, Democrats are never asked or expected to defend the VA even as they agitate for moving the entire nation in the direction of greater government control over health care.
I think this is one of those cases where the left is actually hampered, albeit indirectly, by having a national media that seems incapable of viewing some issues from multiple points of view. Franky, if we had a press that wasn’t so simpatico with Democratic goals on health reform, the country could have had a real discussion about the costs as well as the benefits of moving toward a more socialized system. Instead, we got a media that went along with every lie the Democrats told about Obamacare until it was too late to matter. And to this day, most of the media has never admitted that one of the goals of the effort was to slide the country toward single-payer without admitting that was their intent.
The American people may not have been up on all the details of various proposals but I think they had a good sense they were not being given the truth. That’s why we are where we are now, i.e. on the verge of another major change of direction in health care policy. It probably could have gone differently if the media had worked to keep Democrats honest about their goals and the potential downsides of their plans from the start, i.e. all the things they are now eagerly doing with the Republican plan.