A year after the Veteran’s Administration was rocked by the wait time scandal, problems for the government organization have increased. Wait times for veterans have not only not stabilized, they are increasing in a number of hospitals located primarily in the South. Additionally, even with a massive increase in funding, the VA has a $3 billion budget shortfall.
According to the New York Times, the number of veterans who end up on wait lists for over a month has increased by 50 percent over last year. Granted that the actual number of veterans who were on the wait list prior to the scandal was nebulous at best, the report shows that money alone will not save the VA hospitals.
“Of the 75 clinics and hospitals with the highest percentage of patients waiting more than 30 days for care, 12 are in Tennessee or Kentucky, 11 are in eastern North Carolina and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, 11 are in Georgia or southern Alabama and 6 are in north Florida,” the AP reported back in April.
These areas have large veteran populations, but are also more rural than regions such as San Diego, CA.
The budget for the VA has increased from $45 billion, in 2000, to $124 billion, in 2012. The budget has tripled while the number of patients that the VA treats has risen from 3.3 million to almost 5.6 million in 2012. Even with the added $17 billion in funding authorized by Congress last July, the VA has come up $3 billion short.
Even taking inflation into account, the VA should have plenty of money to do its job. It doesn’t, of course, and the $3 billion gap doesn’t justify funding them at a higher level next year. The VA needs to spend the money it has more wisely. It needs to enact real reform, not wait for the furor to die down and go back to business as usual.
Not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them, but making actual reforms requires the political will to tell the administrative class that runs the VA that they are the problem, not the solution. The VA has become the model of government bureaucracy and corruption. No matter what reforms are attempted, they come up short or fail against the ingrained careerism that is the hallmark of unionized government workers.
The benefits of dismissing the entire administrative staff of the VA and replacing them with people who have not been indoctrinated in the power of bureaucracy is still the most effective way to make a difference in the Veterans Administration. Start at the top and work your way down. Let them all go and perhaps the next group will put the care and welfare of the patients before themselves.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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