Fixing the Veterans Administration
I have been following the fiasco that is unfolding at the Veterans Administration for a few years. It is time for the Obama Administration to step up and fix it once and for all. I have a few conservative ideas that he may try. Why not? Nothing he tried has worked so far.
- May 2016
Ever since the VA scandal came to light, all of us have been outraged by the callousness of the people involved. This included our President Barack Obama. He vows to the American people that he would do everything in his power to fix this. It is over two years since. The problem still exists. It is time for a radical solution. Our veterans are dying by the day. There is no time for debate or political in fighting. They deserve our support and we owe them.
What has been Tried?
President Obama has replaced the top man at the VA with Bob McDonald promising to reform the agency. The problem seems to be systemic. I don't blame Mr. McDonald for the lack of progress. Many of the problems seems out of his control and I sense his frustration. I do think his latest comments comparing a trip to Disneyland to the delay at the VA to be stupid. He should've known better. However, we do know that the system is broken and it is time to fix it once and for all.
As a conservative, I have come up with a few suggestions. These may seems a bit radical but desperate measures need to be taken during desperate times. Don't you agree?
My Simple Proposal
- Disband the VA Administration
- Expand Medicare to cover the Veterans
- Transfer current budget of VA (same amount) to the Social Security Administration
- Initiate the privatization of VA Hospitals across the nation
- Offer the Veterans the option to see any Doctor or specialists in their area.
Why are these Conservative proposals?
You may ask why are these conservative proposals? Aren't you using government and expanding the SSA to do what the VA was doing? How is that Conservative? Doesn't conservative want to do nothing, cut spending, go back to the good old days, push grandma down a cliff? I am being fallacious as you can see.
That is not what conservatives believe in the first place. We want solution that works first and foremost. We also want accountability. That is exactly wrong with Washington today. They have bureaucracies that don't work and yet they want us to trust them to spend more to continue the same process with no sense of accountability or results.
Let me Explain a bit More...
Conservatives believe in some basic principles that apply to all aspects of governing.
- Open and fair competition
- Equality and Freedom
In the specific case of the VA, what is needed is competition. Today, the veterans are forced to go the one designated hospital and in some cases, far from their home. By opening up the Hospitals and clinics to private ownership, there will be more of them and they will compete for the federal dollars set aside to cater to veterans.
By transferring the administration duties of this to the SSA, it makes sense since they are already designed to service seniors and the disabled. This will just add another class of clients. It would add minimal bureaucratic functions to an existing agency. Perhaps, some of the current employees of the VA can transfer over. They need to be vetted so that the poor performers and fraudulent employees are weeded out.
The new SSA needs to be accountable to Congress and the DOD for how these veterans are being treated and how these funds are being spent. These audit procedures already exist.
By allowing the veterans to choose the clinics and Doctors and specialists, they are put in the drivers seat. Those Doctors who want to be paid will do their best to satisfy their customers - the patients. It is just common sense.
Important Follow Up
Another key thing I would do is to indict some of the former employees of the VA after they have been fired. It is a tenet of conservatism that the rule of law should be followed. It is also a deterrent for future wrong doings. By holding those responsible for the failures at the VA, you will send a strong message to all the employees. That is a sure way to reduce criminal activities.
It is called the "broken windows" theory of crime as instituted by Mayor Guiliani in NYC back in the 1990s. He ordered the police to go after small crimes such as theft by breaking car windows and pan handlers on the streets. In the long run, it lead to a reduction of all crimes. This is no longer a theory. It has proven to work.
I also think one of the mistake of the Bush Administration was to let some of the investigations of criminal activities of the Clintons lapse after the 2000 election. He was trying to unify the country by letting go of those issues after a contested election with Al Gore and the failed impeachment of President Clinton. Unfortunately, it lead to the re-emergence of Mrs. Clinton in the US Senate and later as Secretary State. I belief the current scandals with Mrs. Clinton and the Clinton Foundation would not have occurred if the Bush administration and the DOJ had done their job and go after the Clintons for the numerous wrong doings including election finance irregularities and many other alleged criminal activities.
Some Related Info
- Barack Obama VA Scandal: 12 Key Quotes on Controversy at the Veterans Health Administration
The inadequate treatment of veterans under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs angered Americans across the country. Here are 12 quotes from officials and observers on this scandal that has embroiled President Barack Obama's administration.
- VA Secretary Bob McDonald Clarifies Comment Comparing Wait Times to Disneyland - NBC News
"Wait times are important, but they're not the only measure of veterans' experience, and that's what veterans are telling us," he told MSNBC.
I have outlined here a few conservative ideas on fixing the VA. I am hoping that all people, conservatives and liberals and libertarians will join me to demand changes in our government to bring this about. Our veterans deserve no less. Let's cast politics aside for once and do what is right for them. Perhaps, this could be a fresh start for other federal agencies as well.
I welcome comments and criticism and debate.