Sunday, March 31, 2013

VA Problems Keep Piling Up: Lip Service or No Service

Graph from Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) Showing the Massive VA Problems

Original post follows this update from a recent weekend show (Melissa Harris-Perry on NBC). She had several good clips on this subject, starting with this one and followed by this one, and then this last one.

Watching those three clips are worth your time and then your effort to write, call, email, fax, or visit your member of Congress to express the outrage I hope we all feel about this issue.

Surely this patch is not one of honor ... Agent Orange still lingers today -- I guess people just wanted it go away ... but it won't.

Operation Ranch Hand Patch Worn by Those Who Sprayed Chemicals in Vietnam

Original post follows below:

Jon Stewart had a great segment about the many problems have have piled up at the VA over the years.

Stewart is a very funny man and his show is pretty darn good the way he presents real harsh political issues in a humorous way that in many cases makes them to stick in your head because they make more sense more than hearing them (pro and con) from an old tale old Pol trying to cover their tracks or diss the other side while hiding their own nonsense and lack of responsibility.

What Stewart presented and what we are now finding out more about the many unresolved and lingering problems at the VA are sickening to say the least.  

I am a VN era Vet who has used the VA (education loan (GI Bill), home loan, and some medical care), so I know what I am talking about. Stewart's show was funny, but the woes at the VA are not so funny.

Rachel Maddow on her show presents a pretty good run down on the VA and ties in the Stewart segment as well. It can be seen here and is worth watching.

While the GAO report said some of the VA’s processing problems were outside its control, some stem from staff shortages or inefficiency: 

– The huge increase in Agent Orange claims sapped many regional offices. Officials in one office told the GAO that all claims-processing staff members were assigned solely to developing and rating Agent Orange claims for four months in 2011, meaning that no other new and pending claims were processed during that time.

– While nearly 2,000 new workers had been hired since 2009, about 50 percent of claims-processing staffers are green – on their current jobs less than two years, and often not yet fully proficient.

– Collecting medical and other records from the Department of Defense – particularly for National Guard and Reserve members – is a “systemwide challenge.”

– The paper-based claims processing system involves multiple handoffs, which may lead to misplaced and lost documents and may cause unnecessary delays.

– The lack of an integrated system requires staff to enter claim information multiple times and search through multiple systems for claim information.

Let's be clear: the country has a solemn duty to provide for Vets and their families at all times just as President Abraham Lincoln noted in  his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

So, I ask: Has this become our VA and national Vet policy?

For the Greatest Generation Vets (WW II) = Forget them?

For the "Police Action" Vets (Korean War) = Dodge them?

For one of our Biggest Blunder Vets (Vietnam War) = Duck them?

And, for today's War Vets (First Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars) = Deceive them?

Think hard before you answer, and then get mad and help take action. Thank you.


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