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The VA Scandal is Another Government Example of the Failure to Follow a Collective Mission

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki waves goodbye after addressing the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans on May 30 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images)

For USA TodayGlenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Government, we are sometimes told, is just another word for things we choose to do together. Like a lot of things politicians say, this sounds good. And, also like a lot of things politicians say, it isn’t the least bit true.

“…Whether the sign out front says “Department of Veterans Affairs” or “Ministry of Silly Walks,” their behavior will tend to favor those personally agreeable outcomes…”

Many of the things government does, we don’t choose. Many of the things we choose, government doesn’t new-schooldo. And whatever gets done, we’re not the ones doing it. And those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly.

[Glenn Harlan Reynolds is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, check it out at Amazon.com]

Take, for example, the Veterans Administration. The American people — most of us, anyway — did “choose” to provide first-class medical care for our veterans. But we didn’t do it. We set up the Veterans Administration to do it. And the Veterans Administration — or, more accurately, some of the people who work for and run the Veterans Administration — had a stronger interest in other things. Things like fat bonuses, and low workloads in comfy offices. Read the rest of this entry »

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CHAOS: Obama Admin Knew of Allegations of VA Secret Waiting Lists For Years

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki stands with President Obama during a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington

For The Daily CallerPatrick Howley reports: The Obama administration knew about allegations of secret waiting lists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as early as 2010, The Daily Caller has learned.

The current VA scandal involving secret waiting lists that led to preventable veteran deaths at the Phoenix VA Medical Center claimed the scalp of Obama-appointed former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned at the end of last month. Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama only found about the VA wait-list scandal from watching the news.

But the Obama administration knew that an internal VA investigation into secret “paper” waiting lists was conducted in 2010 under Shinseki. Read the rest of this entry »


The Worst Week of the Obama Presidency

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For The InsidersEd Rogers writes: This was probably the worst week of the Obama presidency so far.  President Obama’s foreign policy reboot failed, the economy is in the tank, the VA scandal is a growing cancer on the presidency, criticisms of the administration’s forthcoming gratuitous plan to raise everyone’s power bill via regulations that will essentially shut down coal-fired power plants have already emerged, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned this morning and just a short while ago solid but beleaguered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he is throwing in the towel.  How could things get any worse for Obama and the Democrats?

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“With all the debacles, calamities, failures, mistakes and plain old bad policies associated with this administration and the Democrats generally, it’s easy to get lured off-topic… Republicans should not take the bait…”

In terms of impact on the 2014 elections, Obama certainly seems to be doing his part for the Republicans. And as the old axiom goes, never interfere when the opposition is in the process of destroying themselves. Read the rest of this entry »


The White House Is Exhausted

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Memo to George E. Condon: if the president is ‘exhausted’, imagine how the rest of us feel?

For NationalJournal.com writes: Day 1,956 of his presidency was not too kind to President Obama. Having to announce within a four-hour span that he had lost both an embattled Cabinet secretary and his chief spokesman, Obama looked Friday like a man gamely trying to get a stalled administration back on track.

“Only three of Obama’s original 16 Cabinet officers remain—Eric Holder at Justice, Tom Vilsack at Agriculture, and Arne Duncan at Education.”

He entered the week still stuck with low approval ratings and facing fierce criticism of his policies both at home and abroad. On Wednesday, he tried to chart a new course internationally with a West Point speech setting out a new foreign policy. On Thursday, he dealt with widespread criticism of the speech.

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

On Friday, he tried to dig himself out of a troubling Veterans Administration scandal by jettisoning VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a man he thought was being unfairly blamed for the problems. Then he accepted the resignation of press secretary Jay Carney, the longtime public face of his White House. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: VA Secretary Shinseki Resignation was ‘Elaborate Theater’

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“Elaborate theater, and all the scripts were written in advance.”

Charles Krauthammer discusses former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation on Special Report Friday evening.

“How can the president say that the VA’s problems had not reached the White House, when the president himself says he’s been working on this for six years?”

 National Review Online


Obama Accepts Shinseki’s Resignation

“A few minutes ago, Sec. Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted.”


[CHART] Eric Shinseki is in WAY worse shape than Kathleen Sebelius. Just look…

From The Fix, Philip Bump:

…We compiled calls for the resignation of each Cabinet secretary from news reports, plotting them in relation to the moment at which each secretary’s position reached a moment of crisis. For Sebelius, we put that at the day after the launch of Healthcare.gov, October 2, 2013. For Shinseki, we put it at CNN’s report on backups at VA hospitals on April 23 of this year.

Here’s the comparison…

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(read more)

Washingtonpost.com


[VIDEO] ABC’s Jon Karl: ‘Very simple yes or no question, does the president have confidence in Shinseki?’

Spoiler Alert: White House Repeatedly Refuses To Say If Obama Has Confidence In Shinseki

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[VIDEO] Senator McCain: ‘It’s Reached that Point Where Shinseki Should Resign’

“I haven’t said this before, but I think it’s time for General Shinseki to move on. It’s reached that point.”

 — Arizona Senator John McCain


The Hammer: Obama’s Stonewall Playbook Won’t Work on VA Scandal

“To say, ‘We can’t know what happened unless there’s investigation or until it comes in,’ is simply untenable…”

While the Obama administration has largely been able to fend off criticism from many of its looming controversies, it won’t be able to do the same with the mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs given the wide scope and various reports and anecdotes of the problem, Charles Krauthammer said on Friday’s Special Report. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] House Democrat David Scott Shreds Shinseki, Obama over VA Disaster in Floor Speech

Via the Free Beacon, watch to the very end for the crucial counterpoint to Obama’s nonsense this morning. Namely, the VA’s problems are very well documented.

David Scott’s not the only Democrat in revolt either. Rep. John Barrow also called for Shinseki to go today…(read more) Hot Air


[VIDEO] The Hammer: If VA Problems Are Systemic, Why Not Privatize?

“If you’re not ideological, and if you brought in some expert and asked how to attack the problem right now, you would decide to give everyone on the list a voucher to go anywhere they want, and they’ll get their care within days.”

 


The VA’s Socialist Paradise

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VA Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014, before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing to examine the state of Veterans Affairs health care. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

For POLITICO MagazineRich Lowry writes: For the left, the Department of Veterans Affairs is how health care is ideally supposed to work. No insurance companies, no private doctors, no competition — just the government and the patient.

“people die every day.”

—  Socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders

Paul Krugman, The New York Times columnist, has held up the VA as a model for the entire country. The Washington Monthly ran a famous article in 2005 arguing that the VA was leading the way for U.S. health care. The socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is such a reflexive defender that in an instantly notorious interview on CNN he pooh-poohed the burgeoning scandal that may involve fatalities with the undeniable observation that “people die every day.”lincoln-unbound

[Rich Lowry‘s book: Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream–and How We Can Do It Again is available at Amazon.com]

The VA is an island of socialism in American health care. It generally provides adequate care — to a limited universe of people and for only certain conditions — but has been plagued by scandal for decades. It is perhaps the worst bureaucracy in the federal government. As with all such single-payer-type systems, the cost of the notionally free health care is in the rationing, in this case the wait times that have had desperately ill vets hung out to dry for months. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: VA Mismanagement Evidence of Big Government’s Failures

“It can’t even run a decades-old, normal, absolutely mundane health-care system that are run everywhere in the world between here and Togo…”

Democratic outrage over the fatal mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs is the “precisely the paradox” of the failures of an expansive government that they advocate for, Charles Krauthammer noted on Wednesday’s Special Report. The allegations that the widespread malpractice led to several deaths in facilities nationwide is proof of the perils and limitations of a large bureaucratic, centralized system.

“The idea that this is government that’s going to do great new things — universal pre-school, and all of these wonderful promises — is totally dissolved and it redounds against the party of government.”

Unlike past scandals that Democrats have dismissed as manufactured Republican hysteria, Krauthammer said Democrats cannot simply ignore this problem…(read more)

National Review Online


[VIDEO] Responding to Pressure from Punditfromanotherplanet, White House Holds Press Conference, Responds to V.A. Scandal

THERE’S Bambi! Obama Press Conference: Any Misconduct at VA ‘Will Be Punished’

[Also see: Angry man not quite angry enough to hold anyone accountable for VA fiasco]

WASHINGTON (AP) —  Matthew Daly and Julie Pace report: Seeking to head off a growing furor over veterans’ health care, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that allegations of misconduct at VA hospitals are “dishonorable” and will be not be tolerated by his administration.

[Also see: Where’s Bambi? Calls Mount for President Obama to Speak Out on VA Scandal]Obama-AP-hanky

“I will not stand for it — not as commander in chief but also not as an American,” Obama said following an Oval Office meeting with embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“We are going to fix whatever is wrong and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief…”

His administration is under mounting pressure from Capitol Hill to address troubling allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals. The VA Inspector General’s office said late Tuesday that 26 facilities are being investigated nationwide — up from 10 just last week — including a Phoenix hospital where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for treatment and staff there kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.

“…I’m going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come.”

Shinseki, a retired Army four-star general, is facing calls for his resignation from some lawmakers. Obama spoke warmly of Shinseki Wednesday, saying the secretary had poured his heart and soul into his job, but said there would be accountability if the allegations of misconduct are proven to be true. Read the rest of this entry »


Where’s Bambi? Calls Mount for President Obama to Speak Out on VA Scandal

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White House spokesman Jay Carney, pressed by reporters for reaction from President Obama to the burgeoning VA scandal, said his boss is “mad as hell” — but as Memorial Day approaches, the questions about his public silence are getting louder, even as fresh allegations surface about VA workers “gaming” the system at the expense of veterans’ care.obama-asia-emptychair

“I’m sure you’ll hear from him at some point on this issue soon”

–White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

The president has said little about the controversy since reports surfaced a month ago about patients dying while waiting for care at a Phoenix VA facility. He dispatched his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, to discuss the issue on a Sunday show this past weekend — the most in-depth comments so far came from embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki during his congressional testimony last week.

Carney said Tuesday that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, who is assisting in an internal review, is visiting the Phoenix center as part of that process. Asked if the president would comment soon, Carney said he had no update on Obama’s schedule.

A day earlier, Carney was pressed on why Obama has not addressed the public. Carney suggested an address of some kind is being planned but did not elaborate. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: VA’s False Reports a Lesson About Government-Run Health Care

Charles Krauthammer thinks the Obama administration’s “cooking of the books” in the VA scandal is a “lesson about government-run health care.” …VA delays happened because it’s a completely government-run system. While private doctors have an incentive to see many patients because “if you have a stake in this, you’re going to work harder,” VA doctors are salaried and are thus less productive…(read more)

National Review Online


The Hammer: VA Internal Investigation Should Involve Justice Department

Charles Krauthammer said the Obama administration needs a “high-speed internal investigation” of the Veterans Affairs scandal. The investigation needs to involve the Justice Department “or it looks like another classic administration cover-up..”..(read more)

National Review Online


BREAKING: Top U.S. Veterans Health Care Official Resigns Amid Scandal

Shinseki addresses reporters after testifying before a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on VA health care, on Capitol Hill in Washington

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki addresses reporters after testifying before a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on VA health care, on Capitol Hill in Washington May 15, 2014. REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST

(Reuters) – The top health official at the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned on Friday amid a growing scandal about healthcare delays that has also seen calls for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki, in a statement, said he accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA’s undersecretary for health who had already been expected to retire, and acknowledged the need to ensure more timely treatment of America’s military veterans.

“As we know from the veteran community, most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care,” Shinseki said.

He stopped short of blaming Petzel for delays, however, and did not explicitly say why Petzel resigned. In a statement last September, the VA said Petzel already had planned to retire in 2014 and it was taking steps to find candidates to replace him.

Read the rest of this entry »