The Veterans Affairs scandal contains messages galore, not the least of which is that bureaucratically managed, socialized medicine can be a life-robbing political blunder. And, please, do not suppose a system that falls a tad short of that description is not a blunder, too. Let Obamacare bloom and watch the rationing there.
Yes, rationing, at least of a kind. An official report now shows 1,700 sick veterans seeking help in Phoenix never even made it to a VA hospital’s waiting list and maybe never received a stethoscope’s worth of care.
That’s hardly the end of it, because while the VA inspector general is still studying previous allegations that dozens of veterans died as they went unattended, the report does say there were long waits for many who did get care, a bundle of lies about all of this and that the issue isn’t just Phoenix. It is system-wide.
Though these and other details are fresh, the issue is not new. For a variety of reasons, largely the wars in the Middle East, we have had more and more veterans seeking VA help and many getting it only slowly at best even though Congress allocated more money to accommodate those in need. The Obama administration had known much was amiss. Even in the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama blistered George W. Bush’s hide because of a veteran who committed suicide after receiving no care, which brings us to something Obama is good at: indignant rhetoric.
What he’s not particularly good at is practical problem-solving action. He has shown as much in non-negotiations with Congress and in divisive, politically devious leadership that has given us the worst economic recovery since World War II, for instance. A truly competent, responsive, experienced leader might have begun a process to end the rationing some time ago.