The Politics of Veterans’ Healthcare

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

We have been hearing a steady drumbeat of the inadequate and abysmal healthcare provided to our wounded and disabled veterans for many, many months now. Congress and the White House have promised they will get to the bottom of it and root out any obstructions between the veterans and their healthcare. People are left scratching their heads as some of the horrific stories of long wait times, and inadequate and insufficient (and sometimes lack of) healthcare for the veteran, come to light. Who is responsible, and how do we fix it? No Band-Aids, please; these are real problems – we need real solutions.

Politics and Healthcare Make Strange Bedfellows

First, we must get politics out of the Veterans’ Administration. This organization must be a bi-partisan (not in words, but in deeds) effort by all Americans to assist veterans in their healthcare needs, whatever they may be.
Recently in the news, a whistleblower has come forward and expressed regret, and admits that the systemic problem with veterans’ healthcare has more to do with politics, than anything else.
According to a report involving allegations of the mismanagement of veterans’ healthcare, it came to light that a particular Phoenix VA Hospital allowed approximately 1,700 veterans waiting for medical care to languish on the “black hole” waiting list, and these individuals were never scheduled for any appointments nor were they ever put on the official VA healthcare waiting list to obtain a doctor’s appointment. They remained in limbo because, as one whistleblower federal employee stated, her department did not want to tell Congressional members that there was a problem with gross misconduct and the ill treatment of veterans. At what point did the care and treatment of veterans become so political that officials responsible for overseeing the issues of veterans’ affairs refused to communicate with one another because of their fear of political retribution?

The Secret VA Waiting List

When the story broke in 2014, it was discovered that at least 40 U.S. veterans had died while waiting for medical appointments for treatment at the Phoenix Veterans’ Healthcare Center. These veterans were placed on a “secret waiting list,” that the Veteran Administration knew would never be scheduled for any type of medical review or treatment. Many veterans, up to 1,600, waited for up to 21 months before they were allowed to see a doctor, and many did not get to see a doctor at all.
A 24-year veteran of the Phoenix VA Hospital, Dr. Sam Foote, admitted that there were two patient appointment lists. The official list and the secret list were created to give the illusion that veterans were receiving the treatment they were entitled to.Those fortunate enough to make it on the “official” list received treatment and care within 30 days. Those veterans placed on the “secret” list were intentionally never given appointments to see a physician for their care and treatment.

Where Politics Came Between the Veterans and Their Medical Care

The recent admission by some whistleblowers at the VA Administration is indicative of a more deeply-rooted problem. It may be left up to society as a whole to flesh out what this real problem is and to demand that our lawmakers put this problem on the front burner and that it be handled with all expediency.

Contact Your Attorney for Answer to Questions Regarding Your VA Benefits

If you have questions about your rights to veterans’ benefits of healthcare, attorney J. Robert Surface Attorney at Law wants to meet with you. For a free case consultation with an experienced Greenville veterans’ disability attorney, contact our offices now.