It’s been a number of weeks now since this Veteran’s Administration debacle has blown up. I guess there isn’t much to opine about it that hasn’t already been said by one person or another, at one level or another, or in one form or another. It all boils down to the VA, like almost all other government departments and functions, being so full of layers of bureaucratic bullshit that it is crippling itself. And in internally acknowledging this, the leadership cooks the books to hide it.
Now, I would say that this kind of dishonest, lying, cheating goes on in all of the government departments to try to make it look like established performance metrics are being met. The different, of course, with the VA, is that the nature of their business is people. Living breathing people. And more importantly to many, veterans. War veterans. People who have serve their country selflessly and have paid dearly in doing so, and now need the health care they were promised for their sacrifices. And the government is failing to make good on their promise. That, in and of itself, is unforgivable. But to be so arrogant as to pretend it isn’t happening and trying to fool everybody into thinking the care is being provided, is criminal.
And then in typical bureaucratic fashion in reaction by the highest levels of government (i.e., Congress), they need a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb, to pay for all this. To lay the blame. Of course, the top VA administrator. This has been going on for decades and nobody has been able to get a handle on it, let alone fix it. Long before Eric Shinseki even retired from Army service himself to become VA director. But his head must be put on the platter for this. What a shame. As President Obama said, Eric Shinseki is good people.
So now that the scapegoat has resigned, let’s see how they fail to truly fix this problem but somehow pacify the nation about it.
Myself, I’ve always felt this way about VA care, about government medical care (meaning military hospitals). Too much bureaucratic bullshit, no true and sincere commitment to serve the patient as a needy customer, no sense of responsibility to its ‘customers’. And that, to me, isn’t a defect of the people who work in government healthcare. That is something built in to the system. That is why my family has never depended on Army medical care even when we were an active duty family in Hawaii (we had to on the east coast….). That’s why I sidestepped the VA offer to be seen by a VA doctor and get the VA ID card and patronize the VA hospital for medical care when I visited them to file my disability claim.
Maybe one day when I can no longer, or choose not to continue to pay for civilian medical insurance coverage, I will go to the VA or Tricare Prime… when it becomes the best option for care. But for now, nope.