The VA Has the Power to Change. It Still Hasn’t
Two years ago, the nation learned that our veterans were dying waiting for care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We learned today that the waits continue, that scheduling manipulation hasn’t been stopped, and that the VA hasn’t done enough to get our veterans the care they need fast.
A new report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the VA’s “piecemeal approach” to reform is insufficient. Not only do schedulers continue falsifying their data to influence wait time reports, only four people in the entirety of the VA have been fired for such gross misconduct.
Worst of all, this report comes years after I first heard from my constituents about extreme wait times at the VA, called for a GAO investigation, and offered legislation to fix the problem even before reports surfaced that veterans died waiting for care at the Phoenix VA. And yet the VA still hasn’t done enough.
Congress has already given the VA the power to do all of this. If the VA wanted to, it could change. What is keeping veterans from getting improved care they deserve? Bureaucratic inertia.
In the wake of this GAO report, Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) is holding a hearing in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs tomorrow on why the delays continue to happen and how the VA needs to improve the ways it cares for our veterans. The House has already acted time and again to give the VA the resources and authorities it needs, but for two years now it has slow walked reform. Our veterans deserve better than this, and they deserve it now.