When I first wrote about this scandal five years ago, the ratio of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay prison to medical staff was an astounding 1.5 to 1. By contrast there were over nine million veterans who receive Veteran’s Administration health care, who were served by 267,930 VA employees – a 35 to 1 ratio. I thought that was obscene.
Today I decided to update the statistics and see if there had been any progress made in either case. In the case of Gitmo, the terrorists are much happier. Only 55 remain on the island, but the medical staff of the hospital, according to its Facebook page has now tripled to 300. To be fair, the hospital also serves our military personnel on the island. The guards and staff who watch over the terrorists outnumber them by 33 to 1.
The terrorists who murdered 3,000 Americans on 911 get amazing (and fast) medical care. Today the ratio of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay to medical staff is an astounding 5.5 to 1. And today, five years later, the same number of American veterans (nine million), who fought to protect us from these murderous Islamists, suffer with a ratio of 24 to 1. That is better than the 35 to 1 ratio of 2014, but it is still – what’s a word worse than obscene?
Let’s just say that is indecent and disgusting that terrorists have almost five times as many medical personnel serving their needs than do our wounded veterans.
The 55 remaining detainees at Guantanamo include the Islamists who admitted to carrying out the terror attacks. If they have a sore throat or a sore toe, they receive immediate attention. No waiting at Terrorist Central.
By contrast the more than nine million veterans who receive Veteran’s Administration health care are served by 377,805 doctors, nurses and support personnel. These facilities also treat active duty personnel in some cases, so the comparison to the Gitmo hospital’s ratio is a fair one.
Tens of thousands of vets waited months to see a doctor, and 40 died while waiting –at just one facility, including many who were put on a secret waiting list. That list was part of a scheme set up by VA managers at the Phoenix VA facility to hide the fact that about 1,500 sick veterans were forced to wait close to two years for appointments. This was brought to the attention of Obama by a retired high-ranking top VA doctor and verified by high-level sources.
The scam included the equivalent of businesses keeping two sets of books – one containing their real profits, the other which they showed to the IRS. In the case of the VA, the public list showed that veterans were seen by a doctor within 14 to 15 days after requesting an appointment. The secret list had the names of the majority of veterans who waited months to years to be seen.
Twenty-six other facilities were initially targeted for investigation of similar crimes. More were investigated over the last five years and similar crimes were discovered. We will never know the true death toll caused by this malfeasance. Many veterans committed suicide because they could not get care, including several who killed themselves in VA clinics and hospitals.
When the scandal broke, the Obama White House claimed that the first time they knew there was a problem at the VA was when they saw it on the news. This has been their response to scandal after scandal. “We didn’t know anything.”
But sworn testimony has revealed that Obama’s transition team was fully briefed on the terrible problems at the VA. Wounded veterans in desperate need of medical care routinely waited six months or more just to have their claims reviewed. Obama’s White House received reports numerous times during his first six years in office about this criminal lack of care for our veterans. Yet Obama never once met with the head of the VA – the second largest Cabinet agency in the government – until the scandal hit the news.
Then he waited weeks with no comment whatsoever. Finally, the week before Memorial Day, he gave a 45 minute speech in which he said – absolutely nothing.
He promised that there would be an investigation – by a handpicked political crony of the president. He promised that heads would roll when they find who is responsible – knowing that with current civil service laws it is almost impossible to fire a federal employee. All his promises were just empty words.
He followed his tried and true method for handling scandals (including the IRS scandal and 20 others):
- Claim that no one told him – he found out about it from the press.
- Promise swift action – then do nothing.
- Stonewall Congress when they try to investigate, claiming “Executive Privilege.”
- When things get really bad, fire a low-level employee.
- When all else fails, throw money at the problem.
Why shouldn’t he act like this? It worked with the IRS scandal, the Benghazi Scandal, and all the others. ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
He did vary his plan a bit this time. He removed the Assistant Director of the VA. The only problem with this “disciplinary action” was that the man had announced almost a year prior to his “firing” that he was planning to retire.
Then he threw $20 Million at the problem. But the budget of the VA has more than doubled since 2005. During that same period the level of care has diminished every year. Money is not and has never been the problem. Lack of leadership is the problem.
The Phoenix VA facility, where the scandal started, pays doctors up to $357,000 and nurses up to $147,000. Doctors and nurses in non-VA hospitals in Phoenix get paid half that – and provide much better care.
But the Phoenix VA found $180,000 for gardening and spent $211,000 for interior design the same year the scandal broke. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the vets would prefer ugly waiting rooms and fewer bushes, to dying while VA officials refused them treatment.
And it’s not just Jihadists who get better treatment than our veterans. Convicted traitor Bradley Manning, who is serving a life sentence in a federal facility, has decided that he is really a woman. Prison officials allowed him to dress as a woman and referred to him as a woman. But that was not enough. The ACLU sued and now you, the American taxpayer are paying tens of thousands of dollars for him to mutilate his body. (I refuse to refer to him as “her, and will never use his chosen female name.)
Meanwhile, veterans continued to die.
It was clear where Obama’s priorities were. Only the best of medical care was good enough for terrorists and perverts. But the men and women who fought the terrorists had to fight their own government for the medical care they were promised.
It’s also clear where President Trump’s priorities lie. He loves the military, and honors our veterans. Recently he became the first president to attend the annual Veteran’s Day Parade in New York City. This was the 100th
year of the parade. Every year they had invited the sitting president to attend and honor our nation’s veterans. Finally they found a president who cared about them.
I have a friend of many years who is both a veteran and a long-time medical employee at a Veteran’s Administration hospital. He spoke to me about current conditions at the VA under condition of anonymity. He has served under three different VA Secretaries. The first two were appointed by Obama. The only one who has made any improvements is the current secretary, Robert Wilkie, who was appointed by President Trump.
When I asked how conditions have changed since Mr. Trump became president, it was basically the difference between night and day. Of course the VA is a huge bureaucracy, and behemoths of this size don’t change overnight regardless of leadership. But he described several areas in which the president’s leadership and policies, along with the choice of a good man to head the agency, have made huge differences.
Patient care has improved, as has the morale of the medical personnel. The young wounded vets returning form the Middle East receive excellent care in state-of-the-art facilities. But we still need to do more for our older veterans.
The president began to keep his promise to root out corruption in the VA on his first day in office when he fired the head of the Puerto Rico VA Hospital. Dewayne Hamlin was fired when a whistleblower disclosed that he was a convicted felon and drug abuser. The drugs he was using were not prescribed, and it is believed they were stolen from the hospital.
VA officials immediately acted to protect one of their own, and a court ruled that he was protected by civil service rules – even as a felon. The VA quietly brought him back to work – although not as the Director. Trump continues to fight the rot of corruption that is at the heart of most of the VA’s problems. According to my source, most VA employees are dedicated professionals. But as we all know, corrupt bosses can ruin any system.
Trump has also fought to keep in place a law that was scheduled to expire in 2017. This bill allows veterans to seek medical care at private facilities in cases where long wait times or distance prevent them from getting adequate care at VA facilities.
"What a beautiful word that is — choice — and freedom to our amazing veterans," Trump said at the signing ceremony. "All during the campaign I'd go out and say, 'why can't they just go see a doctor instead of standing in line for weeks and weeks and weeks?' Now they can go see a doctor."
The bill allows the agency to provide scholarships to medical students in exchange for their pledging to work at VA. This has long been the practice to encourage new doctors to work in medically underserved rural areas, and will help fill some of the 33,000 physician openings at the agency.
It also created a commission to study where new VA hospitals or clinics should be built, which VA facilities are worth repairing, and which ones should be shut down and replaced by private health care. This will be fought by politicians who want to keep VA facilities in their districts regardless of whether they are efficient or needed – just as they have fought the closing of military bases that were no longer needed. But Trump has pledged to fight these politically-entrenched positions in order to reform the VA.
The most important thing is that waiting times have been reduced dramatically. And there are no more secret lists of veterans who have been denied the care they deserve because of our sacred promise as a nation to care for those who fought for us.
The motto of the VA comes from a speech given by Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1865. It is engraved on a pair of brass plaques that flank the entrance to VA headquarters in Washington, DC:
“To care for himwho shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
One medical person for every 5.5 terrorists.
One VA medical person for every 24 veterans.
Trump has done as much as federal law, the courts, and the Deep State bureaucracy will allow. But we can - and must - do better.
Trump Fired a VA Hospital Director on Inauguration Day https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/05/30/trump-fired-a-corrupt-va-official-then-the-va-stepped-in-and-said-not-so-fast/
Trump Signs VA Law that Provides More Private Health Care Choices https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/06/trump-signs-law-expanding-vets-healthcare-choices/673906002/
Trump and the Veteran’s Choice Program https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1396/increase-veterans-health-care/
40 US Veterans Died While on Phoenix VA’s Secret Waiting List https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/40-veterans-die-va-hospital-secret-wait-list-report-article-1.1767284
PROOF: What Obama Knew About the VA Scandal – and When https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-did-obama-know-the-va-hospital-scandal-and-when/
You Paid for It! Army Agrees to Pay for Bradley Manning Sex Change. https://thehornnews.com/paid-army-buying-chelsea-manning-sex-change/
Obama IRS Scandal http://www.obamairsscandal.com/about/
The Benghazi Scandal in 10 Simple Points http://www.pomonews.com/2013/05/what-heck-is-benghazi-simple-10-point.html
Top 20 Obama Scandals Documented https://www.naturalnews.com/041056_Obama_scandals_Benghazi_Fast_and_Furious.html