Where VA Has Taken Veterans, Obamacare is Leading All Americans

Photo Credit: Cliff Owen, APBy Kevin OBrien.

The White House says Americans can’t draw any conclusions yet about just how screwed up is the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system.

Well, yes, Americans can. And if they have any sense — always a debatable proposition — Americans will.

One conclusion we can draw is an old, familiar one: No matter what the issue or activity, bureaucracy’s first and strongest instinct is to protect itself in the face of a perceived threat.

Another conclusion is probably just dawning on those Americans with the wit to see it, because so very few of us have had a brush with a medical system of which government is the sole proprietor: Putting a government bureaucracy in charge of one’s health is a gamble likely to end badly.

And yet, if Obamacare stands, that is precisely the gamble each and every American eventually will take.

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Photo Credit: AP / Susan WalshObama: ‘We All Know It Often Takes Too Long for Veterans to Get the Care They Need’

By Susan Jones.

“Even if we had not heard reports out of this Phoenix facility or other facilities, we all know that it often takes too long for veterans to get the care that they need,” President Obama said Wednesday in his first public comments on the growing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“That’s not a new development. It’s been a problem for decades. And it’s been compounded by more than a decade of war. That’s why, when I came into office, I said we would systematically work to fix these problems, and we have been working really hard to address them.”

The president noted that he served on the Veterans Affairs Committee when he was a U.S. senator — “and it was one of the proudest pieces of business that I did in the legislature.”

Bringing the VA system into the 21st Century “is not an easy task,” Obama said. He also touted the “progress” made during his presidency — including record levels of VA funding, expanding the number of veterans eligible for disability benefits, improving care for women veterans, reducing homelessness among veterans, and helping millions pursue higher education, training, and jobs.

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Miami VA Whistleblower Exposes Drug Dealing, Theft, Abuse

By Jim DeFede.

When asked why he would risk his job and speak publicly, Detective Thomas Fiore considered the question carefully before answering.

“People are dying,” he finally said, “and there are so many things that are going on there that people need to know about.”

Fiore, a criminal investigator for the VA police department in South Florida, contacted CBS4 News hoping to shed light on what he considers a culture of cover-ups and bureaucratic neglect. Among his charges: Drug dealing on the hospital grounds is a daily occurrence.

“Anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin, I’ve come across them all,” he explained.

Even inside the hospital, he says he was stopped from doing his job – investigating reports of missing drugs from the VA pharmacy. When the amount of a particular drug inside the pharmacy doesn’t match the amount that the pharmacy is supposed to have, a report, known as a “discrepancy report” is generated. Normally it was his job to investigate the reports to determine if they were the result of harmless mistakes or criminal activity. But all that changed, he said, about two years ago.

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