No good deed goes unpunished
It’s immaterial when the VA Scandal started; under Beaurat Obama, Herbert Hoover or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The damned thing is a product of a progressive, socialist agenda to heal the world’s ills through federal government intervention. Or, is it interference?
President Hoover created the Veterans Administration (VA) in 1930 to consolidate different and localized veterans services offered at the state level they were: the previously independent Veterans’ Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions and the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The new agency was responsible for medical services for war veterans; disability compensation and allowances for World War I veterans; life insurance; bonus certificates; retirement payments for emergency officers; Army and Navy pensions; and retirement payments for civilian employees. During the next decade, from 1931 to 1941, VA hospitals would increase from 64 to 91, and the number of beds would rise from 33,669 to 61,849. (VA History in Brief, Department of Veterans Affairs)
After World War II the feds successfully established a policy affiliating new VA hospitals with medical schools. Ultimately, 97 hospitals were in operation and 29 new hospitals were built. As a result, the VA health system was able to serve a much larger population of veterans than it had served in previous years.
But along with this, a bureaucracy took root like Kudzu in the fertile Georgia soil. Its unfettered growth became apparent. It’s created a virulent bureaucracy layering duplicative manpower in the administrative arena while doing less and less to alleviate understaffing in the realm of nursing and physician ranks. Old growth forests were destroyed supplying the necessary paper to process claims growing exponentially with the armistices declared after each subsequent military conflict.
What was supposed to be a bolstered system of specific care for wounded and injured veterans has become a nightmare of bureaucratic log-jamming. Paperwork and the bureaucrats employed to process it rule and veterans suffer delays for the sheer volume of work not accomplished successfully and/or speedily. This is as much a matter of poor management as it is a matter of an increasing work load created from the ranks of our young warriors entering the system.
A total of $44 billion was appropriated to VA for 2009 to provide medical services to veterans and to conduct medical research. That amount was increased by 8 percent, to $48 billion, for 2010. VA … requested an appropriation of $52 billion, an additional 8 percent, for 2011. The average annual increase was more than 9 percent from 2004 through 2009. (Congressional Budget Office, 10/10)
CNN reported: “A recent report from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that since Obama took office in 2009, the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits has skyrocketed, from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 in December 2012, a jump of more than 2,000%.” It’s the VA’s statement the average waiting period after a veteran files a claim is 273 days. But if the veterans filing a first-time claim, including Iraq and Afghanistan vets, the wait-time rises to 327 days. That’s a timeframe of almost two months longer. In larger metropolitan areas such as New York and Los Angeles, veterans could endure a wait of almost two years. The number of VA health related claims increased as well. In 2001, the VA completed approximately 480,000 claims, in 2002 approximately 796,000 claims and in 2003 around 827,000 claims, according to Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the VA completed more than 1 million claims each year. Veterans’ service organizations say filing a claim can be as challenging as filing a complex tax return or defending yourself in a lawsuit. In the meantime, veterans experience hardships.
CNN compiled the following statistics concerning service members from World War II to date.
World War II(1941-1945)
U.S. service members: 16,112,566
Deaths: 405,399 (291,557 in battle)
Estimated living veterans: 1,711,000
Korean War (1950-1953)
U.S. service members: 5,720,000
Deaths: 54,246 (36,574 in theater)
Estimated living veterans: 2,275,000
Vietnam War (1964-1975)
U.S. service members: 8,744,000 (estimated 3,403,000 deployed)
Deaths: 90,220 (58,220 in theater)
Estimated living veterans: 7,391,000
Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)
U.S. service members: 2,322,000 (694,550 deployed)
Deaths: 1,948 (383 in theater)
Estimated living veterans: 2,244,583 (2009 estimate, may include veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan)
That’s 13 MILLION 6 HUNDRED THOUSAND + possible claims. As of this date, the VA is showing a backlog of claims paperwork in excess of 900 THOUSAND claims.
This entire debacle grown to be a travesty of improper treatment of our veterans has been so tragically chronic it’s become dynastic in its history. As always seems to be the case for veterans and legislators: no good deed goes unpunished because bureaucracy is the cancer in the shadows slowing growth and efficiency.
Thanks for listening