It was a black Friday indeed.
First General Shinsheki stepped down as head of the VA.
And that afternoon, Jay Carney, tendered his resignation, meriting a rather awkward “Bro Hug” from the President. Whether his stepping down was voluntary, or forced isn’t known. But earlier in the week, President Obama, on his way to yet another fundraiser, stopped his 40 car caravan to pay a visit to a D.C. area ball field where one of Carney’s boys was practicing with his team. So if he was forced out, I doubt he saw it coming. Often, one never does.
But the big news was obviously Shinseki’s resignation. Skeptics, including Senator Chris Murphy pointed out that firing the top guy would have little if any effect because the problems at the government’s second largest agency go far deeper than the abilities of the guy in charge.
Naturally, a number of elected officials called for more funding. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was one of those, throwing out 20 billion dollars as a suggested increase (for starters, no doubt)
Is the Department of Veteran’s Affairs underfunded? Data from VA.gov would indicate that’s not the case. As the President pointed out-correctly- funding has increased during his terms, and those of his predecessors. In fact, from 2000 to 2009 (the latest figures available on their website) spending increased from just under 50 billion to almost 100 billion.
Ex-Speaker Pelosi went to the standard democratic fall-back position; It’s Bushes fault! Because of his two “illegal” wars, the VA is flooded with new clients. And it is true, to a limited degree. Gulf War era veterans comprise around 6 million of the total veteran population, but they are still outnumbered by Vietnam vets (7.5 million)
Other charts from VA.gov are of more interest, Because those who served during World War 2 and the Korean Conflict are passing away, the actual number of veterans is declining. And Veteran’s Affairs projects that the decline will continue well into the future.
The real explanation for the secret waiting lists and delays in treatment is simple; we’re running out of doctors. The VA needs at least 400 additional MD’s, but there are few to be found. But it’s not just a problem for the VA. The nation will be short 91,000 doctors in 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The reason is a government restriction, dating back to 1997, limiting the number of residencies available each year. Hillarycare Lives!
And so, though the number of medical school applicants has increased, many will not be able to complete their training, since they can’t enter a residency program.
Assertions that the VA medical system is merely a prototype for all medicine in the future under Obamacare are dismissed as nonsense by many on the left.