May 26, 2014

Shadow over Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the federal holiday to honor those service men and women who have sacrificed their lives to defend this country.  We remember that there are men and women who died so that you and I can live with greater security and peace. As Jesus Christ said ,  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address spoke of the undying gratitude we should have for those who made the ultimate sacrifice:

We can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The motto of the Veterans Affairs is a quote from Abraham Lincoln, "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."

The shadow over this Memorial Day are the daily revelations of appalling government behavior and treatment of the men and women who deserve the best of care.  Worse, the government deliberately falsified data to hide its scandalous behavior.  The department's inspector general says 26 VA facilities are under investigation, including the Phoenix VA hospital, where a former clinic director says as many as 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment.

The VA is an island of socialism in American health care writes Rich Lowry

It generally provides adequate care — to a limited universe of people and for only certain conditions — but has long been plagued by scandal. 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….. The existence of the VA isn’t politically controversial. No one is trying to repeal it, or “sabotage” it. What we’re seeing is simply unaccountable bureaucracy in action.

It's with shame that we learn that Al Qaeda terrorists at Guatanamo are treated better than our veterans.

The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.  While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.

Illegal aliens are treated better than our veterans writes Michelle Malkin

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.

In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America's warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six-hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.
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In 2013, the Obama Department of Homeland Security released 36,007 known, convicted criminal illegal aliens, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. The catch-and-release beneficiaries include thugs convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and thousands of drunk or drugged driving crimes.

The same Department of Homeland Security issued a report in 2009 that identified returning combat veterans as worrisome terrorist and criminal threats to America.

Fraud should not be “punished” with paid vacations — the criminals should go to jail. writes Deroy Murdock in VA Hospitals Are Now Crime Scenes

At this writing, the Veterans Administration scandal has engulfed 16 states and 26 hospitals. In Atlanta, widespread mismanagement caused the preventable deaths of at least three veterans. In Columbia, S.C., six vets died because of delayed colorectal-cancer screenings. And in Phoenix, some severely ill vets urinated blood and endured searing pain from cancer. At least 40 of them dropped dead before getting life-saving treatment.

Instead, hospital officials allegedly doctored appointment books to “comply” with VA scheduling rules, maintained secret wait lists that confirm this deception, and destroyed this evidence when the watchdogs barked. This ugly picture quickly devolves from lassitude into lawlessness. VA hospitals have become crime scenes.
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As much as possible, VA hospitals should be privatized and coverage voucherized. Compensation in what remains should reflect patient satisfaction. As the Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon explains, this means “veterans benefits vs. veterans hospitals.”

Jim Geraghty reports in Another Day, Another Series of Horrific Stories Out of VA Facilities that Veterans Affairs

Secretary Eric Shinseki apparently is going to institute a new lengthy waiting period before action to address the problem of lengthy waiting periods.

Ace reports Networks Devote More Time to Christie's "Bridgegate" Pseudoscandal in Four Days Than They Devote to the VA Scandal In an Entire Month

The Senate Just Blocked Legislation to Speed Up VA Firings.  The bill that would have held VA officials accountable by making it easier to fire incompetent VA officials passed the House but was blocked in the Senate by Democrats.

They are not even burying the bodies.  The LA County Morgue has been holding bodies of as many as 60 veterans over the past year and a half. because they were unclaimed   They  blamed the VA while the VA claims they were never notified.  On Friday, 28 bodies were finally moved to Riverside National Cemetery for burial.

I am pro-choice when it comes to health care for veterans and i support the Call by GOP leaders and a whistle-blower join to privatize veterans' care

"Let our veterans choose the health care that they need and want the most, and not have to be bound to just going to the VA,” said Senator John McCain.

Today, the VA turns to private hospitals for help

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will let more veterans obtain health care at private hospitals, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Saturday.

Shinseki, who faces calls to resign amid reports of lengthy waiting lists and preventable deaths in the VA’s healthcare system, said the agency is "increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care," according to the Associated Press.

The Most Important War Memorial Is One You Probably Will Never See
It wasn’t constructed by an architect or an artist. The memorial didn’t have tourists coming through it like Arlington Cemetery or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. It was a closed site, built and maintained by Marines. Hundreds of rocks had been carried there. Each week, Marines would carry lawn mowers up and groom it.

Above all, treat veterans with respect, not pity. Too many Americans assume that troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan must be traumatized.  Phil Klay writes

War subjects some of its participants to more than any person can bear, and it destroys them. War makes others stronger. For most of us, it leaves a complex legacy. And though many veterans appreciate the well-meaning sentiments behind even the most misdirected pity, I can't help feeling that all of us, especially those who are struggling, deserve a little less pity and a little more respect.
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 26, 2014 4:52 PM | Permalink