This is a reader comment on Andrew Sullivan's blog, about the VA scandal, and the politicization thereof:
I am an ER nurse at a VA hospital (not in Arizona, thankfully). The comments from politicians on this scandal are just asinine.
Why is nobody asking why it takes over 100 days to get a primary care appointment? I hear these same complaints from people in the ER every day, that they come to the ER because it takes months to see their PCP. It takes that long because the VA is not given the budget to hire enough PCP’s. That’s the real fucking scandal. The politicians sent our troops to war and they are not willing to pay for their care when they come back.
Is the claim really that there is some nefarious plot to keep our Veterans from seeing their providers? Who believes that shit? We just don’t have enough primary care doctors and nurse practitioners to see them. Hire some more PCP’s and the wait times will decrease.
As for privatization, that is a fucking joke. Only about half of veterans actually use the VA for their health care now, because those who receive insurance through their employer usually go to private hospitals. The ones we see on a daily basis in the ER are older, poorer, often homeless, with more illness and co-morbidities. They are a distinct population and their level of care will decline if they don’t have a specialized service like the VA serving them.
You may not believe it, but most of us working at the VA actually believe in our mission. We mean it when we thank a veteran for their service. Rather than fixing the problem, and fixing our budget, they are just trying to shuttle more money to private hospitals and continue their anti-government grandstanding. The Republican party and the weak-kneed contingent of the Democratic party make me sick. The only Senator who seems to actually care about the veterans is Bernie Sanders.Many in D.C. have been after Eric Shinseki's head ever since he called bullshit on Rumsfeld's pathetic claims that Iraq could be stabilized with a handful of troops. I don't know how much responsibility he bears for the current problems. But I think it's pretty obvious that what our esteemed politicians have in mind in calling for his head is to get the blame off themselves for steadfastly and repeatedly refusing to fund the VA to the required levels. Pretend their voodoo economics have nothing to do with the stresses in that system.
The above commenter points the blame where it belongs: at Congress. Note that s/he condemns -- as any brain-alive person would -- the entire R party, along with some Democrats. The ones too frightened to stand up and be counted when it counts.
Shinseki is doomed, because that's how it works when feckless and mendacious politicians see a scapegoat for their own failures.
[Update: he "resigned." I'm a goddam soothsayer, huh?]