Unreal: Touting 'VA For All,' AOC Says Scandal-Plagued Veterans' Healthcare System 'Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It'

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Posted: Apr 24, 2019 10:25 AM
Unreal: Touting 'VA For All,' AOC Says Scandal-Plagued Veterans' Healthcare System 'Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It'

As a follow-up to our post yesterday about the extreme recklessness of trying to expand a healthcare program that's already staring insolvency in the face, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is touting an infamously flawed government healthcare program -- the VA -- as another model for expansion.  'VA for all,' is the idea, apparently, with its mouthpiece evidently unaware of what a dreadful idea and message this is.  Extraordinary:


As we've learned from scandal after scandal, the VA has been systemically broken and dysfunctional for years.  It has been rife with long wait lists, corrupt cover-ups, substandard care, and lack of accountability.  Noah Rothman makes the case that AOC's ignorance on this issue should disqualify her as a remotely serious policy voice on healthcare matters, pointing to multiple devastating examples of entrenched failures at the agency she's fulsomely praised:  

VA hospitals around the country have been implicated in scandals involving rationed services and unresponsive administrators. In Washington D.C., patients were given “prolonged or unnecessary anesthesia” while medical staff searched for missing medical equipment. Care is routinely delayed or denied, and incompetence in at least one facility resulted in “unnecessary risk” for patients “and resulted in a breakdown of core services.” In Texas, former VA doctors have accused the department of denying colonoscopies for cancer patients, jeopardizing veterans’ access to non-VA specialists by slow-walking reimbursements, and engaging in precisely the same manipulation of data relating to wait times that plagued the Phoenix facility (where 40 veterans died while awaiting medical appointments). Another effort to falsify the wait times veterans faced was uncovered in Colorado.

In Illinois, a culture deemed dismissive toward patient safety was blamed for unnecessary deaths. In New Hampshire, dangerous conditions, including a fly-ridden operating room, resulted in canceled surgeries. And in Tennessee, tissue was mishandled, unnecessary amputations were performed, and patients with life-threatening and acute conditions were forced to leave the premises to find emergency care at private facilities that actually functioned like hospitals. From Kansas to Missouri, the wait-time scandal cost veterans the care they needed at non-VA facilities to which veterans who face wait times over 30 days are legally allowed to appeal. When the Phoenix VA scandal broke, it engulfed Barack Obama’s government and eventually took VA Sec. Eric Shinseki down with it.

A 2018 Inspector General's report was damning, and veterans have continued to be victimized by chronic "lapses in patient care and dangerous conditions," while formal complaints from VA employees about problems at their facilities doubled between 2013 and 2016.  Under fire for her cavalier and uninformed "if it ain't broke" hot take, AOC is predictably pretending that the VA is woefully under-funded:


But as we've repeatedly discovered, throwing money at a problem -- at this exact problem, in fact -- does not necessarily improve outcomes:  

A commission tasked by Congress with trying to fix the troubled Veterans Health Administration has just concluded a damning report, finding that "many profound deficiencies" at the troubled agency "require urgent reform." The commissioners conclude, "America's veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system." The report indicates the billions pumped into the VA since the wait-list scandal erupted two years ago have failed to relieve many of the problems in delivering health care to veterans. In some cases, the report points out where so-called improvements to the VA system may have actually made things worse.

The VA's abuses are not a product of being "starved."  The VA's budget nearly tripled between 2000 and 2012.  They're a product of government waste and ineptitude.  'VA for all,' indeed.  How does this sound to you, America?

More than 300,000 American military veterans likely died while waiting for health care -- and nearly twice as many are still waiting -- according to a new Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general report. The IG report says “serious” problems with enrollment data are making it impossible to determine exactly how many veterans are actively seeking health care from the VA, and how many were.

I'll leave you with the following question: As a policy-driving thought leader on the New Left, what might AOC (and her pal Ilhan Omar) think of this idea?