Obama says he will get to the bottom of Veterans mess

Comments (38)
unionwv wrote:

“The Veteran Affairs department oversees some 1,700 hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities, making it the nation’s largest healthcare organization.” – Reuters

If Obamacare survives, we are seeing a preview of all of our healthcare, run by beancounting bureacrats in Washington.

May 21, 2014 9:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:

I recommend that Obama resign as president when at the beginning of the meeting. Obama, please do the country a big favor and resign now.

May 21, 2014 9:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse

unionwv wrote:
“If Obamacare survives, we are seeing a preview of all of our healthcare, run by beancounting bureacrats in Washington.”

You truly do not know what the law actually does, do you?

May 21, 2014 10:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SaveRMiddle wrote:

To believe Obama knew nothing of this horrific situation is to believe angry Vets/their family members never bothered to call or email Contact the White House.

[Submit Your Comments and Questions Online

President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. That begins with taking comments and questions from you, the public, through our website.]

May 21, 2014 10:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CSParty wrote:

I hope he has a pink slip with him.

May 21, 2014 11:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CSParty wrote:

SaveRMiddle — Are you serious? Open and accessible? Yeah, at $40K per plate!

May 21, 2014 11:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rlm328 wrote:

How do all of the White House questionable leadership responses start, “I just learn about it while watching the news”. This is the most out of touch administration we have ever had.

Aren’t these the guys who are supposed to be tech savvy?

May 21, 2014 11:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
User21 wrote:

someone may want to tell someone else that the football just admitted something huge as it relates to past investigations…

“I don’t want to get ahead of the IG’s report or other investigations being done.”

the more he says, the more he digs a bigger hole,

Ah, “now we know, what we already knew”, he determines the outcomes of IG reports and investigations,

their credibility is so far gone, even a lifelong democrat doesn’t believe anymore,

that’s what happens when people try to be too tricky with each and every situation, – - it eventually looks too good to be true that nothing has ever happened, and then credibility is lost,

May 21, 2014 12:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
2thinkabout wrote:

As a Veteran (and yes I have received good care at the VA) BUT maybe the better questions Steve Holland could have asked the President would have been…it is more than access….

1. Why did not the President have the Army,Navy Hospital Investigators -IG rather than the VA investigate their own?

2. With all the troops coming back, why are so many of our military trained physicians, nurses, EMTS seeking employment outside of the VA system and not working in the VA system

3. What percentage of civilian to military professionals are employed by our VA system?

May 21, 2014 12:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
smit1610 wrote:

Sure, another crisis that he learns about from the TV. This guys is asleep at the switch.

This agency has been funded adequately. The problem is that the VA and HUD, State Department, etc…are out of control. No standards, metrics (and they pay themselves bonuses) are you kidding me. Everyone has their hands in the jar with no accountability plus just like the Unions, you can’t fire anyone! Hope and change everyone.

May 21, 2014 12:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

I find it so sad that we as a country seem to have no problem sending people off to war, and are very good at it.

Yet when it comes to taking care of the same people after they are done fighting for their country we have failed miserably at it for DECADES.

And to make it even worse, we have the Obama haters seeing this as an opportunity to bash Obama again, when it is a problem that had been occurring LONG before he took office. Here is an idea, instead of bashing Obama, why not be productive and propose actual solutions, this VA issue is not limited to this Administration.

May 21, 2014 1:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
willich6 wrote:

Is this really a SURPRISE to anyone?? This is what we’ve come to expect from this guy and his administration – Incompetence…
Another in a long series of mis-managed government depts and agencies run by syncophants. Totally FUBAR……

May 21, 2014 1:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TOTL wrote:

PPACA is just a step toward a single payer national health care system. Go back and re-watch Obama’s, Pelosi’s, Biden’s own words during Obama’s first term. It is where they want to go. The VA system IS a nationalized, single payer health care system. It is run by the federal government using almost unfirable government employees. I am a disabled veteran, I have used the system. I will go to my private insurer and personal doctor every chance I get. The quality of care would improve dramatically if the veterans had other options. If you want to see the state of medicine at the VA’s, go look at USAJobs.gov and see how many people the VA is trying to recruit to fill open positions. There are a number of people in the VA health care system that are killing themselves to provide quality care. But, there are too many that just don’t care and their managers can do little to get rid of the professional coffee drinkers that staff many of the positions.

May 21, 2014 1:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:

Yep, Obama is mad as hell about this. He just found out about it even though it has been going on for years under his watch. It is his policies and lack of leadership that are causing all these issues that we are seeing. He is a poor leader. He thinks you are stupid enough to believe that he really is mad as hell about this or anything for that matter. He wants you to believe he is kicking (another name for a donkey) and taking names. Well if you go back to all these scandals he has been involved in you will hear the same old story. Things like “I am mad about this and you have the right to be also”, “this makes me angry and we are going to fix it”, “Nobody is madder than I am about this website not working”, “If what the media is saying is true then I am going to be angry about this IRS thing” and on and on. The same old story with this guy.

May 21, 2014 2:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sabrefencer wrote:

Only, if Obama runs out of TV time, golf playing, political parties to attend, cant further blame bush(since he has been in office how long????)will you get him to sit down,, maybe listen, maybe think, maybe then go out to dinner…maybe then forget everything…then call his press secretary and say…you handle it..i know nothingggggggggggggg…yes we know this mr president…

May 21, 2014 3:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
The_Traveler wrote:

This is a bipartisan problem. Slow response to veteran health issues has been a problem for DECADES. BOTH parties have been aware of it for DECADES. Now, due to “allegations” from a retired VA doctor WHO WORKED FOR THE VA HOSPITAL SYSTEM FOR 24 YEARS, and evidently knew about these “alleged” waiting lists for years (but kept silent about them for some reason) we now have another “scandal”.

But there is an upside of this. Now the problems at the VA have risen to national exposure. Perhaps now the issues will be examined and resolved because more than just veterans are aware of it. As the VA comes under Legislative jurisdiction, not Executive, perhaps we can get our CONGRESS to do something about it.

Of course, the Obama Haters will simply spew their same old worn out vitriolic “Obama is to blame” rhetoric, it’s silly to expect them to do anything else.

May 21, 2014 3:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:

Well, as long as Obama is “mad as hell about this”, that makes everything okay.

May 21, 2014 4:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
hallsway wrote:

Oh, really???

Press Release – Obama Discusses Plan to Improve Veterans Care and Help Get Homeless Veterans Off the Streets
October 5, 2007

Mason City, IA — During a town hall meeting in Mason City, U.S. Senator Barack Obama today outlined his plan to ensure that the United States keeps its sacred trust with our nation’s veterans when they return home from war. Obama’s comments came in the wake of reports the Veterans Administration (VA) has been lagging in making needed improvements it promised after deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center became public.
“It’s not enough to lay a wreath on Memorial Day, or to make a speech on Veteran’s Day,” Obama said. “When a veteran is denied health care, we are all dishonored. When 400,000 veterans are stuck on a waiting list for claims, we need a new sense of urgency in this country. And when we’ve got young veterans of a misguided war in Iraq sleeping on the streets of our cities and towns, we need a change in Washington.”

Obama said that he will improve medical care for veterans and help eliminate bureaucratic backlogs that delay disability claims by making sure that every service-member has individual electronic medical and service records that immediately transfer to the (VA) system. Obama also said he will hire additional VA claims raters and set up programs to get homeless veterans off the streets.

Obama said that he will improve medical care for veterans and help eliminate bureaucratic backlogs that delay disability claims by making sure that every service-member has individual electronic medical and service records that immediately work with the (VA) system. Obama also said he will hire additional VA claims raters and convert all veterans’ benefits paperwork into electronic records to speed up applications. Finally, Obama said he will establish a zero tolerance policy for vets falling into homelessness.

“As President, I won’t stand for hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting for benefits. We’ll hire additional claims workers,” Obama said. “We’ll bring together veterans groups and the VA to work out a claims process that is fair and fast. And instead of shutting veterans out, we’ll make sure that our disabled vets receive the benefits they deserve, and we’ll allow all veterans back into the VA health care system. And we’ll have a simple policy when it comes to homeless veterans: zero tolerance. We’ll expand housing vouchers. We’ll set up a new supportive services program to prevent at-risk veterans and their families from sliding into homelessness. We’ll stand with veterans in their hour of need, just as they have stood up for us.”

Senator Obama is a member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

May 21, 2014 7:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PopeAlgore wrote:

Oboy Oboy Oboy… is Obama ever mad! He’s Super-Duper “mad” this time and he is going to get to the bottom of the VA scandal! Yessirrree!

Just like Obama his ObamaCare Train-Wreck-of-a-Website scandal!
And with his IRS scandal! And his Fast and Furious scandal! And his Benghazi scandal! And his NSA goons spying on Americans scandal! And his administration monitoring journalists scandal! Blah blah blah.

Sleep soundly America! And know that Barack Obama is “mad” and will get to the bottom of this scandal… just like all of the other ones!

May 21, 2014 7:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
azwi wrote:

Much prefer having Obama look into this mess, than a opportunist that’s not sincere in John McCain

May 21, 2014 7:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
G_E wrote:

HAHAHA That’s what he said about fast & furious, IRS, Benghazi etc..

May 21, 2014 8:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
justamaz wrote:

Blah, blah, blah, that’s all we hear from Obama that he is going to get to the bottom of this. Doesn’t matter that he has known about problems with the VA for years. It’s with everyone of his scandals, he ignores them, hides them, or will use the line that “this information is classified”, knowing well that it isn’t.

May 21, 2014 8:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Obama says a lot of things… like, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. PERIOD.”.

Enough said.

May 21, 2014 8:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

I seriously doubt this Administratipon can get to the bottom of anything…

May 21, 2014 9:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

I seriously doubt this Administration can get to the bottom of anything…

May 21, 2014 9:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MitchS wrote:

Amazing .. some three weeks after it was widely in the news, our fearless leader steps up. Wasn’t this one of the things this fellow campaigned on back in 2007? www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=93227

It is amazing that the media in this country has allowed our president to be so unaccountable for so long. We’re paying a high price for eight years of this.

May 21, 2014 9:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MitchS wrote:

Amazing .. some three weeks after it was widely in the news, our fearless leader steps up. Wasn’t this one of the things this fellow campaigned on back in 2007? www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=93227

It is amazing that the media in this country has allowed our president to be so unaccountable for so long. We’re paying a high price for eight years of this.

May 21, 2014 9:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dun wrote:

The problems are not about Obama. Federal employees are under a heavy and heavy bureaucratic system. The VA get 165 billion a year which is enough to do the job. Lots of people in the system don’t do squat.
As a disabled veteran, Vietnam, I know this system. To put it simple it’s poor leadership. But they have the bucks.
Veterans should be given a voucher to see private doctors when needed. I have to wait three months for exam. One month while in pain for hand wound. Sick.

May 21, 2014 9:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BillKahn wrote:

If I recall, Mr Obama was on the Veterans affairs committee as a Senator, one of the very few committees he was on. In 2007 and 2008, during several speech’s, he criticized the Bush administrations oversight of the VA. He promised to do better. Now he is angered and shocked? Really?

May 21, 2014 10:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
pyradius wrote:

Yes, Democrats cannot clean up the messes the GOP creates quickly enough, and the GOP gets upset.

“Indeed, Salon’s Mark Benjamin spent years prior to 2007 diligently detailing the troubling and widespread shortcomings for military members who returned to Walter Reed from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fox’s look-away coverage from Walter Reed mirrored how the conservative press ignored the growing veterans scandal for years. “If the right-wing media had broadcast the story, hidden in plain sight,” Steve Young wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the right’s water-carriers could have helped avert years of misery for many of our veterans.”

More from Young, a U.S. veteran, in March 2007:

But you heard nary a peep of indignation from O’Reilly against the Republican Congress, which, for the last six years, not only stood by and allowed Walter Reed to happen but actually conspired in the abomination.”

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/05/21/when-fox-news-shrugged-over-a-veterans-care-sca/199406

Of course we have O’Reilly’s eventual coverage of the issue and his thoughts:

“Next, President Bush visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday. I finished my initial investigation about what happened there, and here it is. The Bush administration was not prepared for the casualties the U.S. military has taken in Iraq. In addition, there was a transfer of oversight at Walter Reed to a private company earlier this year. In that transition, chaos ensued, another example of a huge bureaucracy failing to be efficient.”

http://www.billoreilly.com/show;jsessionid=403ED601C013F7731C66C60257875592?action=viewTVShow&showID=1275

Ah yes, poor Bush administration, caught off guard by the high casualties and the big bureaucracy…couldn’t be helped.

Maybe Bush should have thought of that before conspiring to invade Iraq, as documented:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline

May 21, 2014 12:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sabrefencer wrote:

@ traveler..no one really hates Obama…we really dislike his lying,hhis disaster with obamacare, his use of govt agencies, to suppress an entire political movement before an election, with the probable complicity of holder in justice..we dislike what happened with fast and furious, we dislike for sure, what happened in Benghazi, we dislike what he did to the veterans during the govt shutdown…deliberately targeting their places to go..we dislike his constant whining and blaming everything wrong, on everybody else..except one person…himself…….as a leader and CEO, he rates the lowest, since jimmy carter….and that is hard to do…he should be impeached, or fired …..for much that he has done, or not done..

May 22, 2014 1:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
nottosmart wrote:

Every elected official mentioned in this article must stand up and be accounted for regarding the issues at the VA especially those officials with a huge VA presence in and near their individual districts. There is no way these individuals were unaware of the problems at the VA. Veterans consistently complain to their representatives yet the representatives only help those that do so. They chose not to connect the dots and look further into the reported problems. All they do is pat themselves on their back telling the electorate they support veterans. Well it is high time McCain and the rest of them take the blame for this and stop running to the media pointing fingers at Obama.

May 22, 2014 2:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:

@azwi–I’m no fan of McCain, but I’m sure he could do a better job at overseeing the VA. McCain is a veteran, a former POW who suffered torture during Viet Nam. Obama hasn’t served a day of his life in the military. Which one do you think would actually care more about veterans?

May 22, 2014 9:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse

This is not a new and it’s not a scandal. It’s just a poorly functioning government agency that lacks accountability and oversight.

This has been going on for decades. No one cared when it was happening under Bush Jr. No one cared when it was happening under Clinton. No one cared when it was happening under Bush Sr. No one cared when it was happening under Reagan. But now we finally DO care – and it’s about time.

Unfortunately, about half of the people that are suddenly making noise about it, don’t care about it because of the appalling lack of care we give to our veterans – they care about it because it’s another faux-scandal they can use to attack their political “enemies” with.

Maybe the party that LIED to send these men and women to war in the first place should take some responsibility in caring for them when they return. I blame republicans for manipulating us into an unnecessary war. I blame democrats for not having the balls to stand up to the GOP when Bush & Company was calling everyone who opposed the war a “un-American, terrorist-sympathizing leftist”.

Oh, and maybe if the republicans actually DID care about veterans like they claim, they wouldn’t have blocked that bill to appropriate more funding to veteran’s healthcare and education back in February simply because they weren’t allowed to attach totally un-related provisions that no one else but them wanted.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/199480-gop-blocks-veterans-bill

May 22, 2014 11:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
klingon wrote:

This is nothing compared to the scandal and the major hassle veterans face when filing any claims for disability benefits. My case took 7 years and 3 trips to appeals before appeals finally got fed up with the local Detroit office. The facts are the VA’s own doctors supported my claim and went out to write special analysis of why my condition was attributed directly to my Desert Storm service. The VA’s own top expert in Gulf War Syndrome testified before the claims adjudicator (or whatever his title is), that every one of my multiple medical issues was directly caused by my multiple exposures to the toxins we were subject to. He was overruled and second guessed by a lower level bureaucrat. Appeals kept remanding the case back to be re-worked correctly and by the time I finally won, 7 years had passed. I never got all the back award based on their own whacky re-interpretation of my medical records.
During this time, I called, mailed, and sent every member of both the house and senate VA sub-committees a complete tabbed, indexed and organized package begging for their help. It included all 4 denial letters with the faulty logic the claims unit used, the multiple letters from the VA’s own doctors, and the 36 pages of sworn testimony from their own expert in Gulf War syndrome, along with my own medical research at local medical colleges. I begged them to reform the system and start a full investigation and hold people accountable. I did all this from 1996 through 2001.
Our wonderful elected officials were too bothered to take my problems seriously and sent me pattern letters. Congress held many hearings and many studies and wasted hundreds of millions but did NOTHING. They scapegoated the politically appointees who run the organization just as they are doing now but the net result is NOTGHING was ever done to change a broken system. This system was designed in WW 2 and has served to work against all veterans ever since. Just look at the Agent Orange veterans who were all called liars for decades much the same way us Desert Storm veterans face today along with the Iraq veterans exposed to the open burning pits or IED TBI cases. The fault lies with CONGRESS because they do not want to spend the money to fix this mess because it will cost too much. The president can be PO’s all he wants, but unless our dysfunctional Congress decides to work with him instead of against him, nothing will be done but waste more money on dog and pony shows. In the interim, those of us who proudly served and sacrificed are being allowed to die due to their own political games.

May 22, 2014 12:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
pyradius wrote:

USofR, let’s not forget about 9/11 First Responders, who took a backseat to tax breaks for millionaires:

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/132907-health-bill-for-911-workers-fails-key-vote

May 22, 2014 2:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Art16 wrote:

The abysmal failure of our lower case president’s ability to do as he promised years ago about the situations at the VA, and now followed by big mouth blabber and arm waving, and looking for someone upon which to hang a necklace of evil eyes to deflect attention away from himself, is the usual and customary political one act Junior High play.

Harry Truman, a democrat and a President in the last century, said proudly that the buck stopped with him. Well Junior High Obama, the buck stops with you, and while you rant and rave you are not doing anything productive to resolve the problem, and more Veterans are going to die who are still locked in your little shop of horrors.

Would it have been better for Veterans to be killed in combat and not have to face the indignity and torment of the VA as it is presently being run? A good question.

Before you try to do the political pin the tail on the donkey, you should pin the tail on yourself, if there is room.

A Vietnam Veteran, and proud of it!

May 22, 2014 4:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

pyradius wrote:
“USofR, let’s not forget about 9/11 First Responders, who took a backseat to tax breaks for millionaires”

Oh, of course not – I will, as they always chant, “NEVER FORGET!!!”

May 22, 2014 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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