Obama Shamelessly Downplays Ongoing Problems At The VA
President Obama gave a speech to the Disabled American Veterans group on Monday in which he touted his record in making the VA better, while ignoring the ongoing problem with long wait times for treatment. (White House)
JOHN MERLINE 8/02/2016
President Obama, in an amazing display of self-adulation, gave a lengthy speech to the Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta, Ga., this week, in which he boasted about all the progress he's made in delivering better health care to veterans.
Left unmentioned is the fact that Obama failed to do what he promised two years ago when the VA's wait-time scandal broke -- in which the VA was caught imposing incredibly long (and sometimes deadly) wait times on veterans while trying to cover it up.
Two years ago, Obama solemnly swore that he was "moving ahead with urgent reforms, including stronger management and leadership and oversight, and we're instituting a critical culture of accountability."
He's not delivered on any of those promises.
As IBD has pointed out many times, wait times for veterans seeking care are as bad as ever, if not worse. When National Public Radio looked into the so-called "Choice" program -- which was supposed to let veterans access private doctors if a VA doctor wasn't available -- it found that it had become another bureaucratic boondoggle
An audit by the VA's inspector general found that veterans at the VA Medical Center in Houston often experienced extremely long wait times, and that even after the scandal broke, the clinic had been cooking the books to make them seem shorter.
As to Obama's promise of a culture of accountability, that also turned out to be a cruel joke.
Just over a month ago, the VA announced it would no longer enforce the meager accountability standards included in the 2014 law Obama signed to "fix" the veteran's health program.
"VA accountability has, for all intents and purposes, been rolled back to pre-2014 levels -- back, in other words, to the lack of accountability that led to the scandal to begin with," Shaun Rieley of Concerned Veterans for America told the Hill
Obama has also threatened to veto the "Veterans Accountability Act," which would have reinforced and expanded the VA's ability to fire incompetent workers.
Meanwhile, two VA officials implicated in the 2014 delay scandal were "punished" with a paid vacation -- aka "paid administrative leave" -- and earlier this year they both landed new jobs at the VA.
Just this week, a watchdog group called Open The Books reported that the VA wasted $1.2 million on a decorative rock
outside a Palo Alto, Calif., clinic. The VA has blown a total of $13 million on artwork
since Obama took office. That's to say nothing of the various other reports of egregious waste and abuse that have occurred on Obama's watch.
Obama is never one to admit he's done anything wrong. Anyone who has followed this president for the past seven and half years knows that.
But for Obama to go before wounded warriors blowing his horn about all the great things he's done for the VA, while doing nothing to fix its deep-seated problems, is beyond the pale.