Walz on VA deal: ‘This is the way things should be done’

Rep. Tim Walz

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Tim Droogsma on 07/29/2014 - 03:24 pm.

    Yeah, great idea

    You’ve got a huge bureaucracy that is spending billions, letting sick veterans die, awarding bonuses to the people who falsified waiting list data, all under the “oversight” of Congress. Solution: Throw more money into the fire, provide more of the ineffective oversight by “establishing a commission.”

    Yeah, that’s gonna fix the problem.

    • Submitted by Bill Kahn on 07/29/2014 - 04:38 pm.

      Oh, sure. Spend several hundreds of billions (that was the money we burned) to send them to war and don’t spend a dime to fix them when they get back.

      Some flaky folks used accounting gimmicks to overcome erroneously perceived obstacles to their target goals (they forgot those were their charges, not their problems) and you fix it all by cutting the life line of the veteran?

      Seems like “we seen the enemy, and he is us.” Past Congresses have imposed budgets on the VA that did not do the job, so–not that seeing some more heads roll would be a bad thing–you want to cut those budgets even more?

      Rep. Walz has more cred than all the movement conservative ideologues in the country and all their tired rhetoric.

      Fix the VA system, through a commission or a process, and make it work the way it must for our vets. Walz gets it. You don’t.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/29/2014 - 09:31 pm.

        The solution

        to an inept, corrupt bureaucracy is not to throw more money at them. The solution is to shut them down.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/29/2014 - 04:23 pm.

    This is not the solution

    The deal calls for $10 billion for vouchers to veterans to use at civilian facilities, $5 billion to open more facilities and hire more doctors and nurses, and $2 billion for “miscellaneous.”

    The solution to getting veterans the treatment they need NOW, is not to build more facilities and hire more doctors. That takes years. They should add that $5 billion to the $10 billion in vouchers.

    The $2 billion for “miscellaneous” is nonsense. Add that to the vouchers also, for a total of $17 billion for vouchers available now.

    The VA medical system needs to be eliminated. The facilities should be converted to civilian hospitals and made available to everyone. Let the veterans be treated at the hospital or clinic of their choosing, the same as anyone else who needs medical attention, and send the bill to the government.

    • Submitted by Bill Kahn on 07/29/2014 - 06:16 pm.

      The civilian health care system is not going to and is not set up to treat the problems of most veterans; it would probably cost far more to attempt to treat veterans this way.

      Civilian facilities might relieve the VA in some areas, but they will never replace it until war comes home and we all have the same sorts of problems.

      The suggestion to eliminate the VA medical system shows extreme ignorance.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/29/2014 - 09:35 pm.

        Nonsense

        You don’t know what you’re talking about. The vast majority of veterans seeking medical attention are not those from the Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re guys from the Vietnam era. They’re old guys with the same conditions as other old guys getting treated in civilian hospitals.

        The VA system is not only inept and corrupt, they’re a waste of taxpayer money.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/29/2014 - 05:34 pm.

    The real problem

    is the shortage of physicians in the United States.
    One long term answer is improving our educational system so that more American students can hack med school, but that answer starts with preschool.

    So it’s nice to say that the VA is going to hire more physicians; where are they going to find them? Hire them away from the private sector (who’s going to pay for that)?
    And are we going to legally require private health care providers to accept what the VA pays? We already have a problem with providers not being willing to work for what Medicare pays. This is not a problem with physicians, since increasingly physicians are salaried employees; their bosses make the decisions.
    The VA has been (along with Medicare) the most cost effective medical provider in the country. Privatizing veterans medical care is just going to make it more expensive.
    The proven answer is the opposite:
    eliminate the VA by rolling it into a national health care system that treats everyone.

  4. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 07/29/2014 - 07:42 pm.

    million -> billion

    The Senate number of 35 was also in billions, not millions.

  5. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 07/29/2014 - 11:00 pm.

    It may be $17B, but….

    …it certainly is NOT $17B in new spending; is $12B – because $5B in that spending comes from budget cuts in other areas at the VA. And there’s nothing in that bill to fix a flaw that causes delay: the ability of the Department of Defense to seamlessly transfer an exiting Service Member’s medical records to the VA. Nor is there any money to fix the VA’s antiquated and ineffective appointment scheduling FUBAR.

    Sure, the $10B in outsourcing goes to for-profit medical providers, but that’s in line with GOP demands that everything possible gets outsourced to for-profit businesses. This is why the House GOP will go along; they’re always happy to add to the deficit if there’s profit in it. That should be obvious to anyone paying attention to the outsourcing of mess halls, laundry, etc in Iraq and Afghanistan. For those a little slower, perhaps “Haliburton” will ring a bell?

    And those 27 new VA facilities will be “leased” – not “built.” Again, someone’s gotta make a buck off the deal to get the House GOP to go along.

    This is a bandaid – and the cheapest one the House GOP got get away with. The real number – $12B – is a lot closer to the House GOP’s desire to do it for $10B than the Senate’s $35B.

    And Congressman Walz thinks “this is the way things should be done”? Really?

  6. Submitted by Tim Droogsma on 07/30/2014 - 01:47 am.

    Numbers from the White House web site…

    2001 VA Budget – $45 billion
    2014 VA Budget – $150.7 billion (235% increase)

    And all that while, wait time data was being falsified, veterans were dying while waiting months for appointments and VA management was handing out over $100 million in bonuses in a three-year span.

    And Tim Walz thinks that by throwing an extra $17 billion at the problem “we also started to lay the groundwork for some real reform inside the system.”

    No one is fired. The people who let veterans die while they falsified reports will keep their jobs. (One auditor found schedulers at 109 different VA clinics that admitted wait time data was falsified). The members of Congress charged with oversight of the VA system (like Tim Walz) suffer no consequences for having sick veterans die on their watch.

    I guess when you believe that bigger and bigger bureaucracy is the answer to all of life’s problems, you just develop a blind spot about what “reform” really means.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/30/2014 - 03:42 pm.

      I love how you conservatives

      Leave out the major reason for the increase in the VA budget: 2 worthless wars started by the worst stupid president in the history of the US. In addition, despite the bs from Tester, the costs related to those wars are far greater because medicine has improved the chances of soldiers to survive which is a great accomplishment.

  7. Submitted by Tim Droogsma on 07/30/2014 - 06:20 pm.

    I can’t believe anyone thinks…

    …this is a conservative/liberal issue, or a political issue. This isn’t about ideology, it’s about COMPETENCE. A June 24 CNN story says 1,000 – A THOUSAND! – veterans may have died over the past few years because of “malpractice or lack of care” at VA facilities.

    In Florida, Navy vet Horace Lalley had blood in his urine, and was repeatedly – over YEARS – told by VA doctors he had a urinary tract infection. Before they treated him properly, he died of bladder cancer.

    In Columbia, S.C., six veterans died and 20 more were “harmed during care.” The list of horror stories goes on and on and on.

    And Logan’s response to this shabby treatment of our veterans is “Yeah, but Bush started a war I didn’t like.”

    And now Tim Walz and other members of the Veterans Affairs committee – who had oversight over this entire incompetent operation – are patting themselves on the back for throwing money at the problem. Disgusting.

    I’m not against government. I’m old enough to remember a time when government agencies – the FBI, NASA, CDC, NWS – were the very best in the world at what they did. No one seriously believes that any longer. If we can’t even expect basic competence from government – remembers how HHS couldn’t even open a functioning web site? – then what’s the point?

    People really need to get beyond partisan politics and start demanding that government either execute its missions competently, or get out of the way.

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