The VA scandal coming out of Phoenix is shaping as media and political theatre. It is pretty obvious that the Republican right wing is using the VA self inflicted wounds to push for privitization or a voucher system for 1,400 VA medical facilities. They care for 5 million veterans.
The right wing media has exploded saying the publicly run Veteran's Administration medical facilities shows what is wrong with socialized medicine. Never mind that the private sector in medicine has brought us the most expensive per capita medical system among Westernized nations. And has the private sector ever had any scandals ?
Health Corp. of America (HCA) is the second largest health system, after the VA, in the USA. In the 1990s, it was run by now Florida Governor Rick Scott. Under Scott's leadership, HCA paid out fines worth $610 million for Medicare fraud. Until 2008, HCA had to have Federal inspectors watch its books for Medicare fraught.
After 2008, it was business as usual at HCA. Allegations of manipulating billing codes for more medicare money have been leveled since then.
Intrestingly, Gov. Rick Scott used the same excuse President Obama lamely laid out for his inability to see HCA's Medicare problems. Scott, in interviews, said he "trusted " his employees. He also referred to his large workload and duties as CEO of HCA.
Scott, as Governor has opposed Obamacare and Medicaid expansion. He is now into a witch hunt at the Florida Veteran's Administration. He has insisted Florida medical examiners have the right to examine Veteran's Adminstration facilities. Scott has threatened to sue. Officials at the VA reminded Scott they were a Federal facility on Federal land not subject to his demands.
In Washington, the most ridiculous right wing attack has been by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). The Honorable Senator attacked a wide array of veteran's organizations . His grounds were that these organizations did not call for Veteran's administration Director Earl Shineski to resign. Burr, who is not a veteran, is on the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
Since when does any private organization have to kow tow to what a Senator desires ? These organizations are non-governmental organizations. The Veteran's organizations pushed back against Burr angrily.
The VA does have serious problems. Its biggest headache is a mass of new people entering the system. Certainly, this does not excuse the Phoenix and other bureaucrats. It does show that venal bureaucrats can be just as nasty as private sector CEOs.
The Veteran's Administration could have used money that was with held by T-Party Republicans in the House. But that is the problem with right wingers. They love to see veterans marching in parades. They love their votes. They love to give patriotic speeches. But if comes down to money, veterans can just crawl away and die somewhere. NOTE : The author receives medical care at a Veterans' Administration Hospital.