What VA Secretary McDonald just said about veteran wait times proves why his agency is beyond reform and should be abolished

Thursday, May 26, 2016 by

(BigGovernment.news) Up front: Veterans Administration Secretary Robert McDonald should be fired immediately and his agency disbanded, for he is clearly too tone deaf to run it and it is obviously beyond “reform.”

A few days ago during a breakfast with reporters and editors of the Christian Science Monitor, McDonald actually compared the life-and-death struggle faced by thousands of our veterans when dealing with the VA bureaucracy to minor inconveniences that you might experience at a Disney amusement park.

McDonald said, “When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?  Or what’s important?  What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience? … And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

Yes, he actually said that. And by the, Sec. McDonald, Disney has come out and said that yes indeedy, the company damn sure does worry about visitor wait times.

“What the Secretary said was factually untrue. We take wait times very seriously. We continually push the boundaries to give our guests the best experience possible. A large team of highly trained industrial engineers are tasked with improving our guest’s experiences, from transportation, to guest flow, to ride comfort and certainly wait times,” a spokesman said.

Disney’s Fast Pass system is credited with keeping park lines to under one hour, and it allows visitors to pick the time that they can get into an attraction. Disney also cares because they know that if customers are unhappy, then can go over to Universal Studios, which of course has its own version of Fast Pass, called Express Pass.

But that’s irrelevant because, as House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted after hearing this ridiculously callous statement, veterans have actually died waiting for care they were promised when they enlisted in the military and were sent off to fight on behalf of our country.

To the point of VA insufficiencies, as noted by Citizens Against Government Waste:

Conveniently, measuring only outcomes would have done nothing to prevent the insidious VA practice of zeroing out veteran wait times, which was revealed to have occurred in 19 states and Puerto Rico.  In seven states, VA supervisors instructed schedulers to fabricate patient wait times at medical facilities.  In one case, a VA employee was scolded for not manipulating wait times.  For the families of the veterans who passed away while waiting for an appointment in a VA hospital, the secretary’s remarks are insulting and disgraceful.

“Secretary McDonald seems Frozen in the past, incapable of understanding that if veterans do not get an appointment in a timely manner, it could cost them their lives, or at the very least, adversely affect the outcome of their treatment,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said. “The secretary was heralded as a successful private sector CEO who could turn the department around, but he’s a lot more like Scrooge McDuck. Maybe the fish from Finding Nemo needs to be called on to help the VA find a new leader.”

No. There shouldn’t be any “new leader.” There shouldn’t be any more VA hospitals, period. Congress has proven, practically since the VA was established, that it cannot be reformed because it is hopelessly mired in bureaucratic red tape. Plus, the department is habitually tasked with the impossible: Deliver quality healthcare to military veterans in a timely manner with minimal resources and chronic under-funding.

What would happen if, say, the VA’s entire budget went for actually providing veteran care and not partially for building upkeep and maintenance, staff salaries and other overhead? What if the $182-plus billion President Obama requested for the VA in 2017 was all earmarked to allow the private sector, with its competitive pricing advantages, provide veterans with timely care? Would it even cost that much if taxpayers weren’t also paying for the largest hospital group in the country?

If you ever wanted to really see what full-on socialist government health care looks like, it’s the VA. And look at the bureaucratic, tone-deaf morons who run it (yes, that also includes Congress).

McDonald has laid bare all of the reasons why, in just a few sentences, the federal government is incapable of managing something such a large and complex operation. He should be fired and the VA disbanded; let our vets get timely care in the free market, where wait times and outcomes are equally important already.

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