Right Hooks

One-Third of VA's Waiting Vets Have Died

Nate Jackson · Jul. 14, 2015

We already know that after more money and “fixes,” the Department of Veterans Affairs has only gotten worse. So it’s no surprise to hear the new internal report indicating that one-third of the veterans waiting to receive medical care have already died. That’s 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans in the pending backlog. Spokeswoman Walinda West argues that it’s not necessarily the VA’s fault because more than 80% veterans “have either Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or some other private insurance.” As a result, she says, “some in pending status may have decided to use other options instead of completing their eligibility application.” But that’s really only more of an indictment because the VA is tying things up with bureaucratic red tape, causing veterans to start looking elsewhere, and then declaring that veterans wanted other care anyway. So how does the VA propose to fix things now? More money, of course. Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson wrote to Congress, saying, “It is essential that Congress pass legislation to provide the requested budget flexibility by the end of July 2015.” Otherwise, bad things could happen.

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