Serial Crises at the VA

The congresspeople acting surprised at the serial crises at the Veterans Administration are a bunch of Captain Renaults. You remember, in Casablanca  he threatens to close Rick’s place because of gambling saying,  (“I’m shocked, shocked,” as the help is handling his share of the winnings. )

From the bits of history I’ve picked up, the problems have been frontva and center since 2000. Promises were made; no money was forthcoming; more commitments were made; no money was forthcoming.

Wars ratcheted up but the money for protective gear wasn’t there. Combat military men and women were surviving injuries that killed their predecessors. But there was no extra money for research on TBI and prosthetics. In the meantime, budgets were cut.

The Renaults in Congress have obviously not visited a veterans’ hospital since, well maybe forever. Otherwise they would see the reception areas with lines – this after the initial appointments that take more than a year. They haven’t seen the peeling paint, loose floor tiles, (not a good thing for people with canes and walkers, and so forth), parking that feels like one has to walk to another state. (That part ebbs and flows depending on whether a guard is available).

Oh, and the cafeterias – their food options seem designed to give the diners coronary artery disease. I’m not saying eliminate the pastries and the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches – but offer more fruit and maybe a few more veggie options.

It might be good to encourage the staff to choose healthy  too. I find it really discouraging to walk into any healthcare facility and see that much of the staff looks unhealthy. Not a good message.

But … there may be good news. I heard today that a congressperson had contacted a veteran who is not even a constituent and inquired about the benefits and benefits for a family member.

Am I allowed to hope? Or will there be another “I’m shocked” moment in a year when there’s no more money, many more disabled veterans, and everyone is a year older?

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