Comments about ‘Jason Chaffetz: Shinseki must go: Obama administration must hold itself accountable’

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Published: Thursday, May 29 2014 9:15 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"As is the pattern of the Obama administration, no one at either agency has ever been held accountable for failing to implement the President’s policy." If the representative had confined his remarks to problems with military health care (and Obama's failures in dealing with it) rather than using the crisis as a lever to make political points he would be better received. The VA has had big problems for years.

So, Representative Chaffetz, what should be done with military health care? I suspect you'll say vouchers?

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

I really couldn't care less whether Shinseki is forced to resign. To me, the bigger issue is accountability all down the line.

People SHOULD be fired. They most likely won't be. Whistleblowers SHOULD be rewarded, instead (not just at VA)they have been chastised and denigrated.

The VA problem is much bigger than Shinseki.

Salt Lake City, UT

Obama needs someone on his team who understands just how difficult software engineering is. The failure rate with large software projects is very large - high in the private sector and even higher in the public sector. When I took software engineering in college (about 20 years ago) we were told that the failure rate for large software projects in the public sector was about 50%!

Salt Lake City, UT

Rep. Chaffetz, your craven hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Or will you show us all the votes you have cast over your years in office to improve VA funding and operations so that it can keep up with the workload placed on it by a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Didn't think so.

For the VA to have faked its records to show compliance with its own policies is genuinely scandalous, and yes, heads should roll.

But to pretend that this is a new problem that is solely the responsibility of the Obama administration and for which GOP military policies and budget cuts play no role, is disingenuous in the extreme.

Durham, NC

I was in complete agreement on the matter - that responsibility needs to be enacted. Then this morning I was doing a little reading on the subject and it turns out the directors ability to remove poor performing career administrators - much like tenure and teaching - the problem becomes a bit more complex. Because should we ask for Shinseki head, we all feel a bit better, but the underlying problem hasn't been fixed. The next person in that seat of responsibility will be equally constrained in enacting real change.

These clamoring for responsibility needs to be focused in the right places. If Shinseki was aware of problems, or enacted policy that caused these problems, he needs to be held ultimately responsible. On the other had if information was not flowing up the command chain, or even if it was but he was not able by statue to address these issues - firing him achieves nothing but political points - which are worth next to nothing.

We need to understand where the breakdown was - not just shoot the first person through the door. It may be Shinseki has to go due to lack of confidence in the system. That may not solve the problem.

Murray, UT

The Senate Republicans decided not to fund a ~$20 billion VA funding bill because it would bankrupt the country. Yet, their Republicans in the House decided to pass a ~$120 billion tax credit for large businesses. Should they not be held accountable as well?

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

Here comes Jason again!
Gosh, we would never have any credible info about issues in this administration without his help!

Salt Lake City, UT

"The much-heralded integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) project..." I'm curious, was a planning document ever produced for this project, complete with costs? Was this document ever reviewed by the congress? Was there a document produced declaring the project dead? We need to explore this further. Representative Chaffetz, if the public is to make a judgement on this matter we need this information.

Springville, UT

The VA has a history of dysfunction that goes back decades. Playing cheap political games by Chaffetz and his GOP co-conspirators is not only disingenuous, it is hypocritical. During the Bush years, treatment of vets was abysmal. Take the situation of Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). To quote an article (and I remember this well as I not only followed it closely, I am friendly with Rep. Smith personally): "In 2005, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom Delay removed him [Smith] as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee for not toeing the party line and by insisting more be spent on veterans’ programs." The GOP is complicit in the VA scandal. Instead of partisan gamesmanship, the GOP should help work towards solutions. It's pretty vile.

Virginia Beach, VA

Apparently Jason Chaffetz (another Koch brothers' employee in Congress who pretends to work for America) got the final Koch brothers approval to go ahead and publish another Op Ed in Deseret News.

Let's see here . . .

“Obama Administration’s failure are magnified . . . “ That’s good Jason . . . Don’t forget to bring up strongly negative terms like “failure” in conjunction with Obama, and then overblow them with exaggerative terms like “Magnify” . . . that’s excellent.

And don’t forget to pepper the article with key terms like “agency” (as in evil) and “infusions of money” and “failed” and “red tape.”

It’s almost like poetry really . . . It’s so evocative.

OK Jason, you get an “A” . . . For Always Predictable.

Joan Watson

Better late than never - Fire ones that wont/cant fix problems and appoint others who are capable, smart, energetic and determined to transform the VA hospitals into the best. - and deliver the goods! That is demanded of privately run hospitals - why not governments?

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Why is it that repubs only believe dems should be held accountable?
Why not hold yourself accountable for your own mistakes before pointing fingers? Iraq for starters. Let's put that administration on trial for war crimes. Then hold the same administration accountable for their own VA lack of funding.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Shinseki is a great man with an unparalleled record of military service (in contrast with Mr. Chaffetz, who has NO record of military service). As with all managers, he has a management problem. He knows it. Let him deal with it.

Eagle Mountain, UT

The problems that existed at the VA existed before he took over the reigns. As any Field Commander must do, he has to rely on the reports he gets from those under him and make decisions off those. If the reports he gets are false, he cannot make accurate decisions.

The better question should be "Can he fix these problems?" And give him the tools to hold those at the VA accountable for their dereliction of duty.

Firing him at this point would do nothing more than be for show and a scapegoat.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Excuse me, but is this the same Jason Chaffetz who refused to pass a bill which would have funded the VA?

Is this the same Jason Chaffetz who cut funding for security at our embassies and then went on national tv smirking and bragging about it?

It sounds like Chaffetz wants to hold everyone accountable but himself. I say we fire Jason Chaffetz and all those repubs who refused to fund the VA. Then, we can straighten out our VA.

Salt Lake City, UT

"It’s time to replace Secretary Shinseki and move forward with real reforms and proven solutions." I don't think Representative Chaffetz has ever been a developer in a large software project. I have and know something about the situation Shinseki finds himself. Before we tie a can to Shinseki's tail let's get the facts, especially in light of his service to the country. And what, let me ask, are the "proven" solutions? Vouchers?

St.George, Utah

Those of us who have now retired from the medical profession, recall decades of military men and women frightened of having to get any medical care, what so ever, from Veteran's Administration hospitals.
These Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine troops, would do anything to avoid those facilities.
This is nothing new, and those blaming our currant president, well, we all know what they are up to.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

IMO the VA model has NEVER been a good model for price-competitive and top quality healthcare.

It's federalized healthcare. There's no motivation do quality work or satisfy your customers/patients... where are they going to go? You have them trapped!

The same will be the case IF we let the Government take over OUR healthcare and be the sole-provider (or dominant provider) of healthcare to Americans. The same complaint has been echoed for years and years from the family and friends I have in Canada (long wait lists for routine visits, often deadly wait times for expensive life saving procedures, always getting minimum-expense and minimum-results treatments (when more expensive treatments that are more effective are available, but the government won't pay for them)... So you eventually get frustrated and desperate and give up and go to a private hospital in America and pay cash for the treatment you need.

Veterans have been doing the same thing (for years and years)...

Salt Lake City, UT

The general has probably replaced field commanders who did function well. Eric Shinseki is a decorated war hero who deserves our respect, but he is not an efficient administrator of the VA Health system which is civil service and not military. Mr. Obama should have rewarded his service with some other type of appointment. Sorry partisan talking heads, Chaffetz was right.

Salt Lake City, Utah

I like what Chaffetz said if we change it just a little bit. ""It’s time to replace Representative Chaffetz and move forward with real reforms and proven solutions."

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