Is President Obama protecting Secretary Shinseki because the Secretary knows something?
Let’s cut to the chase: did they both know about and approve of the false waiting lists and other ways the VA cooks the books to keep its funding secure?
Did President Obama and Secretary Shinseki both know about and at least tacitly approve of the false waiting lists and falsification of government data?
It’s difficult to believe that the president knew about the details of how the VA handles its customer service, but it is equally difficult to believe he didn’t know some kind of game was going on. Anyone who’s been around a government office for more than a few minutes knows the great amount of energy people in them expend to comply with new requirements without changing practices to improve actual processes.
And the President was told directly and asked by a committee of Congress to get involved over a year ago.
Multiple news accounts of waiting list manipulation and similar corruption have come out about the VA over the past several years. On May 21, 2013, for instance House Veterans’ Affairs committee chair Rep Jeff Miller wrote to President Obama,
about an “alarming pattern of serious and significant patient care issues at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCS) across the country.”
“Because these issues are long-standing, systemic, and apparently immune to the current structure of accountability within VA,” Miller continued, “I believe your direct involvement and leadership is required.”
When the President ordered the wait times at the VA to be cut, he knew he was boxing a glacier: slapping a fix on a problem that may appear to solve it initially, until the natural momentum of the problem pushes out in some way you didn’t expect.
Just firing one guy or even a few people won’t fix the VA, and might even make the problems more entrenched as the people remaining will blame the ones who got fired.
The VA needs to be torn down, and only the necessary parts rebuilt.
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