Tag: Veterans administration

The Right’s Stealth Efforts to Privatize the Veterans Administration

Koch-backed veterans group advocates for VA privatization

During the 2014 midterm election cycle, the Koch-funded group Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) backed a bevy of extreme conservative candidates and helped send top Koch cronies (and veterans) Joni Ernst and Tom Cotton to the U.S. Senate. Scarcely a couple months into the 2016 cycle, CVA has released a report recommending that much of the U.S. Veterans Administration be privatized, an extreme policy position that would jeopardize the care received by millions of our nation’s veterans.

Last month, CVA’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce released its final report suggesting “policy reforms” for the VA, namely that the VA’s health care system be converted into an independent, nonprofit corporation and advocating for the creation of a private insurance option for veterans. Additionally, new enrollees into the proposed system would face tougher enrollment standards. According to USA Today, a whopping one-fifth of future veterans would not be eligible for care under CVA’s proposed system. It’s no wonder then that the American Legion has come out against the plan, as did Paralyzed Veterans of America, and that “most veterans service organizations skipped” the rollout of the CVA’s final report, according to Stars & Stripes Magazine.

Most veterans organizations don’t support CVA’s privatization plan, and it has the potential to negatively impact some 20 percent of future veterans. So what explains CVA’s release of what Stars & Stripes calls a “radical” plan for the VA? Consider that CVA received a whopping $5.5 million from the Koch brothers’ “secret bank” – Freedom Partners – in 2013. The Kochs have advocated for education reform by way of abolishing the federal Department of Education and campaign finance reform vis-à-vis doing away with the FEC. So it’s disappointing, but not surprising, that a Koch group’s vision of VA reform is to privatize most of the agency charged with caring for our nation’s veterans.

Koch favorite and presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio has already endorsed the extreme CVA plan. Will the rest of the Koch cronies follow suit and contradict the position of most veterans service organizations?

The idea of privatization through vouchers is also supported by two other GOP presidential contenders: former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The right wing would like nothing more than to dismantle the entire social safety net for everyone.

In a two part segment, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted how the right wing was quietly working to privatize segments of the Veterans Administration through vouchers for health care outside the system.

In the second segment, she speaks with Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, about the importance of the VA in the American health system, how the VA is improving after recent scandals, and political challenges from conservatives interested in privatization.

Founder of VoteVets.org Eric Solz pointed out in an article for miglior sito per comprare viagra generico 25 mg a Milano Huffington Post that the voucher system would undermine funding to the VA and shuttle veterans into a system that is not equipped to handle their special needs.

The scandal that rocked the VA over excessive wait times to get care and excessive backlogs in processing claims was terrible. It was also a problem that was, literally, years in the making. Before Secretary Eric Shinseki, not a single VA secretary, Democrat or Republican, tried to get the VA to move to a modern, computerized system. And the VA never prepared for the influx of veterans when we launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to overstretched facilities cooking their books to avoid punishment.

There is no doubt that veterans shouldn’t have to rely on the VA for everything. But what Republican candidates, backed by the Koch-brothers-funded Concerned Veterans for America, talk about is the beginning of the end of the pact we make with our veterans to give them the care they need. What they want is the privatization of veterans’ care: Fight for your country and get a voucher.

What this would do is severely underfund the department, leaving veterans out in the cold when it comes to many of their service-connected injuries. For example, VA centers are often equipped to deal with amputations and traumatic brain injuries in a way that a local doctor or hospital might not be. But if we voucherize the system, local VA centers and hospitals would be forced to shutter their doors. For veterans in need of specialized care — both physical and mental — they may not have an able caregiver to turn to in their area.

Furthermore, the VA, despite the bad press, continues to far outpace private care in national customer satisfaction surveys. Veterans like the care they get at the VA. A lot. Closing the VA is the first step toward ending other popular programs like Medicare. In fact, that’s what this whole fight is about.

As the Crow Flies

How do you get a government agency to fix a rule that isn’t working? Simple. Get Jon Stewart to do a funny, but factually accurate, segment that highlights the flaw and, bingo, less then 24 hours situation remedied.

On Monday night Jon mocked the Veterans Administration’s Choice Program which was put in place to speed up medical care for veterans who lived far from a VA facility. The problem was that to be eligible the vet must live forty miles from the nearest facility. The rule was worded like that to keep down the cost of the program. But that distance was measured by “as the crow flies,” because, as Jon put it, “that is the least-meaningful way to judge how hard it is to get somewhere for non-crows.”

Then low and behold, less than 24 hours later the VA announced that they were “relaxing the rule” that made it difficult for veterans living in rural areas to prove they live 40 miles from the nearest VA facility.

The change comes amid complaints from lawmakers and advocates who say the VA’s current policy has prevented thousands of veterans from taking advantage of a new law intended to allow veterans in remote areas to gain access to federally paid medical care from local doctors. [..]

The VA said it will now measure the 40-mile trip by driving miles as calculated by Google maps or other sites, rather than as the crow flies, as currently interpreted. The rule change is expected to roughly double the number of eligible veterans. [..]

Under the new interpretation, the distance veterans must travel will be calculated through commercial products such as Google maps or other websites, rather than a straight line.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., hailed the rule change but said it did not go far enough. The VA policy applies to any VA medical facility within 40 miles of a veteran’s home, even if the veteran needs specialized care that is farther away.

While this change will help a good many veterans, congress still will need to tweak the program for those requiring special care.

Thank you, Jon, for your “damning piece of investigative joke-a-lism.” We will miss you when you’re gone.

Too Many Patients, Too Few Doctors

get link Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The recent scandal about the possibility of patient deaths, long waiting lists for appointments and falsified data in the Veterans Administration run hospitals across the country has it roots in a very obvious fact: too many patients and too few doctors.

At the heart of the falsified data in Phoenix, and possibly many other veterans hospitals, is an acute shortage of doctors, particularly primary care ones, to handle a patient population swelled both by aging veterans from the Vietnam War and younger ones who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congressional officials, veterans affairs doctors and medical industry experts say. The department says it is trying to fill 400 vacancies to add to its roster of primary care doctors, which last year numbered 5,100. [..]

But the inspector general’s report also pointed to another factor that may explain why hospital officials in Phoenix and elsewhere might have falsified wait-time data: pressures to excel in the annual performance reviews used to determine raises, bonuses, promotions and other benefits. Instituted widely 20 years ago to increase accountability for weak employees as well as to provide rewards for strong ones, those reviews and their attendant benefits may have become perverse incentives for manipulating wait-time data, some lawmakers and experts say. [..]

The precise role incentives and performance reviews might have played in falsifying waiting-list data remains unclear. In Phoenix, the inspector general’s office said, investigators plan to interview scheduling supervisors and administrators to “identify management’s involvement in manipulating wait times.”

But documents suggest that using the data in annual performance reviews may be commonplace. One review for a Pennsylvania veterans medical center director showed that a significant portion of the director’s job rating was tied to “timely and appropriate access,” which would include waiting times for doctor appointments. One of those goals would be met only if nearly all patients were seen within 14 days of their desired appointment date – a requirement not found in the private hospital industry.

While greed may well be part of the problem, it all stems directly back to the influx of new patients and the lack of primary care physicians to manage their cases. According to the article, primary-care appointments have increased 50 percent over the last three years while the department’s staff of primary care doctors has increased by only 9 percent. There are only so many hours in the day.

The other issue for doctors in the VA system is the pay disparity with the private sector.

V.A. primary care doctors and internists generally earn from about $98,000 to $195,000, compared with private sector primary care physicians whose total median compensation was $221,000 in 2012, according to the Medical Group Management Association, a trade group.

Privatization is not the solution. The private sector is no better equipped to handle to large influx of patients, especially patients with special needs that stem from the wars. It is also wildly unpopular with veterans and veterans groups. The Republicans in congress have other ideas because they perceive the VA as socialized medicine which they hate.

The Republican Party Has a VA Problem, Too: Privatization Isn’t Popular

By Brian Beutler, The New Republic

In light of the GOP’s decision to fold the Veterans Affairs scandal into a broader ideological crusade, I noted on Wednesday that in seeking redress, liberals shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the GOP’s answer to every administrative blunder is to dissolve whatever program or agency screwed up. The unspoken corollary is that, by using the VA scandal as a narrative building tool, they’ll face pressure to put up a “small government” alternative to the VA that would be a better deal for actual veterans. And that carries risk, because the Republican alternative is unpopular. And yet

 

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is calling on the Obama administration to permit veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals to seek treatment outside that system, if they want.

   Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, called on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order that would allow those veterans to act on their own and charge the government for outside care.

As Brian pointed out, when Mitt Romney suggested that veterans be given vouchers, he was vehemently criticized by veterans. Romney, being the political coward, did an immediate reversal, proposing instead spending more money as demand increased. How liberal of him.

MSMNB’s Rachel Maddow did an extensive report on the VA crisis, highlighting the problems within the military medical care system and the new details outlined in the V.A. inspector general’s interim report. She also had interviews with Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association and Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.


I don’t believe that firing Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Eric Shinseki is the solution. The solution is hire more doctors and that would require making the position more competitive with the private sector.  

The Military Veteran: No Revenue = No Sacrifice

get link No Revenue = No Sacrifice

Now a decade plus added to the decades previous since Korea and especially us Vietnam Veterans, by ignoring what we were saying, PTS, TBI’s, Agent Orange, Suicides, more, to the first Gulf War Veterans, Gulf War Syndrome, more, and now into these two theater Veterans already, many issues from suicides to burn pits to once again homelessness and unemployment, more!

The 112th House has already tried cutting the VA budget and will continue same, DeJa-Vu all over again!

The Country is the Government, easier to lay blame at the agencies then to look in the mirror, from congress through the population, especially the false flag waving corporate financed self described only patriots!

The (T)’s Continue the “Screw You” to Soldiers/Vets and Families of

Now over a decade with two wars of choice and added to the previous decades of ignored issues and not fully funding the Veterans Administration, thus saving monies instead of increased costs to catchup with the needs, as to the results of our wars. Easier to lay blame on the agency rather then the country, the 99% who don’t serve it, who collectively don’t look in the mirror at their total lack of Sacrifice as they wave those flags!

Last night, 30 July 2011, the Congressional House (T)’s did exactly what many thought they would and now the Congressional Senate (T)’s, going into their oft used filibuster, follow the Houses lead, and their Supporters Cheer, a day after this:

click Senate Veterans Affairs Hearing: Examining the Lifetime Costs of Supporting the Newest Generation of Veterans

“Shared Sacrifice”??

follow url “Shared Sacrifice”? WAR TAX NOW!!

cialis super active no prescription Hearing: Examining the Lifetime Costs of Supporting the Newest Generation of Veterans

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs United States Senate 112th Congress, First Session Hearing Schedule Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Veterans and the Veterans Administration have been short changed for decades now, costing much more in fighting to catch up then if funded properly at the beginning and into, and throughout, our wars of choice, instead it’s easier for the people, their reps and some veterans to lay blame on the agency. Magnetic ribbons, wordy patriotic meme’s, flag waving and historic costumes, lapel flag pins and purple heart bandages is Not Sacrificing after Demanding the Soldiers and their Families do!!

‘Jobless veterans, US national disgrace’

I Demand a http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=vardenafil-generico-Napoli War Tax and call it that, it’s been over a decade and counting of No Sacrifice by the Country as we demanded Sacrifice of our Soldiers and their Families, with multiple tours in two occupation theaters!

Those of us who were born during or in the years shortly after World War II grew into what our grand parents and parents with the help of our Government investments were building, joining in as we joined the workforce professions to build for our children, from the needed education professions to the skilled trades once professions.

Veterans Unemployment: 1mil.

follow site No New Taxes or Tax Loopholes Closed!!!


Those who brung us these two wars of choice and rubber stamped the cost for including no bid contracts, that’s their message!


Those who cheered on these wars of choice, teabaggers and more, that’s their message! As they still claim almighty patriotism with their flags, dress up history costumes, magnetic ribbons, flag lapel pins and the great time and laughter with their purple heart bandages as we were sending soldiers into two occupation theaters!


Their wealthy funders, who reaped huge wealth over the decade from these wars either directly or indirectly as well as from huge tax cuts, and the FOX no news 24/7 war drum pounding and cheer leaders of these wars of choice, that’s their message!


Their once #1 grifter riding during a solemn motorcycle procession, just the roar of the bikes, sitting on the back of one waving and smiling, like Memorial Day in Washington was a parade for her highness, that’s her message!
 

Why Are Veterans Issues Off The Table?

Frankly that’s very easy to answer, the country refuses to demand it’s own sacrifice the greater majority cheer on but don’t serve in or have direct connection to, especially the political party claiming their strength on “National Security” and it’s the total opposite of what’s being argued as to this debt ceiling and the growing deficit itself, remember these two present conflicts were kept off the books and fought on borrowed financing until put back on the books and our spending by the present administration. All those costs include the no bid contracts of the growing private armies as well as the numerous other private contractors serving a bottom line and not the country.

Marine: ‘We’re Starting To Fall To The Wayside’

For over forty years now whenever I hear the loud demands, especially by the elected representatives of the people, for tax cuts my first thought has always been the long underfunded Veterans Administration and related to our wars of choice, second is the ever growing, with no objection, defense budgets year to year!

dosage of prednisone for lupus The Long Deja-Vu’s, Korea and Vietnam, all over again, Continues

American Way: Have War, Underfund Results Of, Ignore Those Sent!

The results of the long underfunding, since Korea, and oh so easy to lay blame on the agency supposedly funded by the oh so patriotic masses who don’t serve and through their representatives they hired, of the Veterans Administration covering issues from the record keeping, as we enhance the needs by waging wars mostly of choice, to the resting place in the National Cemeteries of the mostly ignored, fallen and veterans of after returning home, brothers and sisters who serve.

This is but one more example of the total lack of Demand for the Country to Sacrifice as they demand the sacrifices by the soldier and their families!

dove acquistare viagra generico 50 mg a Verona ‘The veterans’ cemetery that America forgot’

Just Some of ‘Lessons of War’ Not Learned!!

And now we’re over a decade of oh so many lessons not learned and in not one but two theaters of with a third front being bombed and invaded right next door to one of the two and joined with NATO in bombing another that the previous administration had brought the leader of back into the fold after years of calling him a terrorists supporter and supporting terrorists criminal acts!

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