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Selective Outrage Over Veteran Health Care

By The Reverend Published: May 30, 2014

A follow up on the alleged VA scandal. It appears now that accusations of falsifying records by some VA employees of wait times of veterans seeking primary physician care are legitimate. After reading yesterday's revelations, it would seem that the VA, in certain regions of the country, is buried under more calls for veteran care than they can facilitate. That seems to be the root problem.

Obama is feeling the pressure to fire VA head Gen Shinseki. Firing Shinseki would give opponents of Obama a scalp to brag about....but it won't help what ails the VA. Further, even arch-Republican Bill O'Reilly recognizes that the wait time problem for veterans existed before Obama even took office.....

“The problems existed on the day President Bush left office,” the Fox News host said to Rove...on Wednesday evening.

You also may not know that Obama has actually expanded healthcare benefits to veterans during his presidency....which created a swell of new veteran's claims....

The VA received 1 million new claims during Obama's first year in office—the most it had ever received at one time—and the count climbed from there. Annual claims peaked in 2011 at 1.3 million, falling to 1.04 million claims received in 2013.

What's driving the surging number of claims? In short, a pair of wars that have created more veterans and new Obama administration rules that have made veterans from all wars eligible for more disability compensation.

The surge of new claims during Obama and the fact that when Obama took office a huge veteran backlog already existed do not excuse VA employees from falsifying wait time records for government superiors. Those realities simply add perspective and context to current criticisms of the VA.

Recent revelations provide no support for the claim that 40 veterans may have died prematurely BECAUSE of long wait times. Now, main media has latched on to a new scandal number....

At least 1,700 military veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, raising the question of just how many may have been "forgotten or lost" in the system, according to a preliminary report made public Wednesday.
If true, this would be a monumental smuck-up. If true, many VA employees responsible should be fired and replaced. There can be no excuses for the magnitude of such a smuck-up, and none should be proffered.

At the same time, some perspective here is absolutely necessary.

Florida: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 1,212,000 poor Floridians with comprehensive health insurance, including 41,200 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Georgia: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 599,000 poor Georgians with comprehensive health insurance, including 24,900 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

You see, not all veterans qualify for health care delivered through the VA......

Not all veterans rely on VA care, often using private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and not all qualify for care. To receive VA care, a veteran typically has to have retired from the military or suffer from a long-term injury sustained while in the service. Combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan can qualify for five years of health care in the VA system after an honorable discharge.

Why is it that Republican state leaders can purposely refuse tens of thousands of veterans access to Medicaid-expansion health coverage and it not be a national scandal......yet 1700 misplaced VA appointments....is?

So far, no one at the VA has been accused of DELIBERATELY deciding to do harm to veterans by purposely refusing to provide veterans health services. Not so of Medicaid expansion deniers.....

The difference between denying Medicaid benefits and the VA troubles today is that nobody from a political party or movement set out to make sure U.S. vets couldn't get access to the health care the government wanted to provide to them. But that's exactly what's happening in Republican states that have boycotted Medicaid's expansion. It's a deliberate move to deny health care.

Conservatives throughout the states can deliberately deny health care to veterans, suggest that veteran pensions should be cut, and cut food stamps which many poor veterans depend on......and not one scandal-cricket can be heard coming out of the hollowed-out halls of corporate media.

"Scandals" now are what Republicans and Village media say they are. Deliberately choosing to deny health care to veterans by refusing to expand Medicaid is not a scandal....even if many of those veterans will die prematurely. But 1700 misplaced VA appointments and a backlog of veterans waiting to receive VA health care is a scandal.

The real scandal here is the selective outrage by political and media opportunists.

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