You see news stories sometimes that upset you, but you are not sure of the facts. Fox News Special Report had a quick report about Veterans having massive amounts of paperwork to complete in order to get their services. It sounded as if they were being buried with paper to get their medical services. With all the challenges of the federal government, the last thing we can tolerate would be for those brave souls who have risked their lives to protect our freedoms to be abused by bureaucrats and their red tape. We had to delve into this further.
We turned to two experienced people to clarify the status of our veterans. Scott Hogenson, the first we spoke to, was the former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Veteran Affairs. We also spoke to Tom Bowman who was the Chief of Staff for the VA from 2005 to 2008. That means he was the person making sure everything got done while the hardworking Secretary was going to all those meeting and soirees.
Both gentlemen assured us that anyone coming off a battlefield gets taken care of with no questions ask. Hogenson spoke confidently of the medical service provided wounded Vets. Though you may have read some stories about particular problems, Bowman insisted the health care the VA provides is exceptional. When asked what Fox was referring to, Hogenson suggested that a report made by the American Action Forum (AAF) may have been the source of the claims of paperwork nightmares for veterans.
We then spoke to Sam Batkins who wrote the piece, which can be viewed at the AAF website. Batkins told us they pulled the data in the report from GAO information. The report cites there are 18 agencies within the VA, and they have 613 different forms for veterans to fill out which take 43.4 million paperwork hours at a cost of $614 million a year. Batkins said AAF had done similar reports for other departments with the purpose of highlighting the paperwork maze created by the federal government. Hogenson said there may be 613 forms for the various facets of the VA, but that has little to do with the medical benefits. Bowman stated they had tried to cut down the amount of forms and the paperwork maze, but stated he was not satisfied with the progress.