Comments about ‘Letter: VA care’

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Published: Wednesday, June 11 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

The problems with the VA are based on lack of access. Those who get care like it. We need more doctors and nurses for the VA and that's going to require more funding.

FreedomFighter41
Provo, UT

Recently, republicans demanded for the head of the VA to be held accountable and fired.

So doesn't it make sense to hold those in the House who refuse to finance the VA accountable too? They've been trying to privatize it for years by underfunding it. Now, we have reports that many good men have died due to the republicans' games.

Can we finally fire folks like Chaffetz? He needs to be held accountable for cutting embassy funding and bragging about it. And cutting VA funding. He can't keep cutting vital government services which oftentimes leads to destruction for many Americans and still have a job.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problems with the VA are the same problems faced by every government program that takes away the opportunity for private enterprise to profit from peoples needs.

If the VA services for veterans are shifted to private enterprise the cost to the veteran or the taxpayer will increase tenfold.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I haven't heard of any one in the VA hospital getting any boniness like the Freddy May Freddy Mac for doing a good job. Wow, weight a minute didn't that Government program crash the economy.

ECR
Burke, VA

Nice letter Rod. I'm glad you're being taken care of by the VA. You deserve it. And I'm certain the majority of those who work for the VA are dedicated to serving as many as they can. Letters like yours are the start of a process to better support the organization and the people who work there. Thanks for writing.

2 bit
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The VA has problems no doubt. It always has, and probably always will. Because the problem is that there's large need... and limited resources. So those resources need to be rationed or stretched. It's the same problem any government run healthcare system would have (and does have in other countries that have government run healthcare systems).

I suspect that people with big problems (like kidney transplants and heart bypasses) get a lot of attention (they have to... or they would die). But the people who fall between the cracks are the people with NON-life-threatening problems (depression, minor illnesses, substance abuse problems, family problems, PTSD, etc)... can wait... and they do.

They wait, and they wait, and they wait....

And it's reported to be the same in Canada and the UK (from people I know who live there).

They get excellent care for life threatening stuff... but the mundane stuff... has to wait, and wait and wait...

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

But but but...

The VA is part of der guvmint and needs to be privatized. That's what the Koch bros propaganda and talking box says. And we all know der private sector does everything better! I hate socialism! Now keep your guvmint hands off my Medicare and keep my Social Security checks coming!

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

That is the problem. The VA can deliver satisfactory care but often it does not. From General Motors to the VA, large organizations have the primary objective of preserving themselves. Government, with the civil service guarantees of life time jobs, is particularly prone to under performance. At the VA the best way to get rid of incompetent employees is to recommend they be promoted to another department. That is why the new VA McCain-Sanders bill will allow people to be fired for incompetence.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ Hemlock

The VA's problem doesn't come from the desire to preserve itself. It comes from a lack of funding. It can't increase prices like oil companies constantly do. It can't cut people or mess with peoples' benefits like insurance companies do. It can't outsource to china like other companies do.

So when folks from Congress refuse to allocate necessary funds to the VA, people will be hurt.

We could have funded the VA for centuries with the money wasted on Bush's 2 wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, and bank bailouts.

Will we the people support more of the same? Or will we vote these obstructionist bums out? Guess we'll find out in November!

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "We could have funded the VA for centuries with the money wasted on Bush's 2 wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, and bank bailouts."

True, but the sums you reference are chump-change, compared to all Democrat tax-and-spend, vote-buying scams.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Somehow I doubt the Bush administration acknowledged a need to increase VA funding when it committed us to two wars. It didn't even increase funding to finance the wars themselves, let alone their aftermath. Nor did it foresee the need to increase VA funding just to handle the increasing medical needs of aging veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. And even if Obama had pushed to increase VA funding, it would have been a futile exercise so long as the Republicans could obstruct it. Why are we now surprised that the chickens have come home to roost?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Curmudgeon,
Most of the patients at VA hospitals (at least in Utah and Arizona) are not Afganistan Vets. They are WWII Vets and Vietnam Vets. And they aren't being treated for bullet holes or traumatic injuries... they are being treated for CPOD, kidney problems, heart problems, Alzheimer's, etc (just like the aging population in any other hospital).

They do get SOME traumatic injuries from the battlefield... but that's FAR from the majority of the care they provide.

The VA needs funding increases. But they also need to learn to be more efficient (as ALL Hospitals are having to learn to be more efficient and deliver care in different ways now days).

You can try to blame it all on Bush... or all on Republicans... but it was a problem even when I was there in the early 80's (when Carter was President). And it will probably ALWAYS be a problem in a system where they deliver care using the model the DMV and other government only distribution systems use (customer doesn't matter, rationing by waiting in lines, and no motivation to improve service... where else they gonna go?).

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

2 Bits:

As reported by the International Business Times in November, 2013:

"All that can be said with any certainty is that as of last December more than 900,000 service men and women had been treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics since returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the monthly rate of new patients to these facilities as of the end of 2012 was around 10,000."

We may not see so many in UT and AZ VA hospitals, but overall, it is a heavy strain on the VA system, which should not be downplayed as you have done.

And yes, I do lay blame for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at the feet of the Bush administration.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

What I wonder is why do we still have VA hospitals? Couldn't the same thing be done at the local hospitals? I could understand the need 20 years ago or more when electronic records were not available, but what is the point of the VA hospitals now?

I can go to the UofU hospital and get the same treatments and care that are available at the VA hospital that is a mile away.

Rather than throwing more money at the VA system, why not convert to a system that pays for private insurance for the veterans?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Curmudgeon

So.. who do you blame for the problems the VA had in the 1980's??? They were the same problems. And Bush wasn't around to blame back then!

Did you blame Carter??? He was President then!

Grover
Salt Lake City, UT

A letter from a vet who knows about the problem and blames no one turns into a slugfest of finger pointing about who is to blame. That game is much easier than fixing the problem i.e. giving them more resources (read: taxes) to fix the problem. Ok, let's see how many are ready to pay the bill rather than blow hot air about a real problem.

PS. How about selling those ribbons everyone had 10 or 12 years ago that said: "Support our Troops"? Now they could say: "Raise My Taxes To Support Our Troops!"

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@The Real Maverick
"We could have funded the VA for centuries with the money wasted on Bush's 2 wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, and bank bailouts."

Or we could just reduce the need for more funding for the VA by just not galivanting around the Middle East for a dozen years with the side effect of making more veterans who need care.

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@2bits
"who do you blame for the problems the VA had in the 1980's??? They were the same problems. "

I don't think it's an administration specific issue either then or now. I think the problem is something more fundamental. The longest wars in American history are Afghanistan and Vietnam. There's a massive spike in people needing veterans care after we've gone through something that created a lot more veterans needing care. We have been unable to factor in wars into the VA funding equation and seem to be woefully short.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

2 Bits:

I was not then and am not now a fan of Jimmy Carter, but at least he did not exacerbate the problems with the VA by entering into massive military actions that created hundreds of thousands of wounded vets, like Bush did. I never said that the sole reason the VA has problems is because of war casualties, but you have to admit that whatever other problems it has, adding that many wounded warriors puts a strain on the system.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The reason we have the military is to protect the commercial interests of the people, that even includes you and me. That protection includes but is not limited to the following:
War. Wars are the ultimate competition of businessmen. They are waged to protect or gain an economic advantage over foreign competitors.
Foreign aid. Used to buy the friendship of foreign governments to the advantage of American businessmen. Mostly it is used to oppress the people of that country.
American bases. Used to advertise the American presence and reward the local business.
Foreign bases. Used to advertise the American presence and reward the local business.
Arms manufacture. Used to create profits for businessmen.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
All of the profit making aspects of the military come from the active military. Veterans are the left over, worn out and useless remnants who's only value is in media stories and charities.
Mostly the Medical industry has be left out of the military gravy train but if they can take over the veterans medical ....

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