Did Veterans Affairs Deliberately Help Soldiers Mess Up Their Paperwork and Delay Care?

There is evidence that the Veterans Affairs bureaucrats decided not to tell veterans what they needed to do to apply for care.

You might remember the Pixar movie, “The Incredibles.” One of my favorite scenes was of Mr. Incredible’s job at an insurance agency. He was supposed to turn down claims whether they were legitimate or not.

Ironically, I think the popular perception that movie tapped into was one reason why people were receptive to Obamacare as our savior from the insurance agencies. But aside from the evidence that Obamacare is making insurance much worse, the VA scandal shows us that government bureaucrats are more callous and uncaring than private insurance companies.

In Mark’s last post on the VA scandal, “A Third of Veterans Waiting for VA Help Have Died,” he quoted from a story in The Hill:

A VA spokeswoman told Huffington Post that the department can’t subtract dead applicants from the list and that some may never have completed an application but remain on the back log.

Spokeswoman Walinda West also said that more than 80 percent veterans who come to the department “have either Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or some other private insurance.”

“Consequently, some in pending status may have decided to use other options instead of completing their eligibility application.”

Davis dismissed that argument.

“VA wants you to believe, by virtue of people being able to get health care elsewhere, it’s not a big deal. But VA is turning away tens of thousands of veterans eligible for health care,” he said. “VA is making it cumbersome, and then saying, ‘See? They didn’t want it anyway.'”

What did Scott Davis, program specialist at the VA enrollment center in Atlanta, mean by “making it cumbersome”?

A recent Washington Examiner story spells out some more details.

At issue is whether VA officials told veterans not to submit their DD-214 forms, or discharge papers, when filling out applications for health care benefits.

Emails obtained by the Examiner suggest the VA’s reason for avoiding the discharge papers was politically motivated.

VA officials did not return requests for comment.

In a Dec. 2013 email exchange, Lynne Harbin, deputy chief business officer of member services, discussed her intention to dodge questions posed by the American Legion about how many veterans were waiting to learn of their eligibility for VA health care.

“Note that I am skirting the issue of the numbers of pending records and instead focusing on what it means and what we are doing about it,” Harbin wrote to colleagues.

In an earlier email, Harbin expressed the VA’s need to resist asking for veterans’ discharge forms.

“Interested in hearing what the data shows, but know that politically informing veterans to give us their DD214 would be unacceptable,” Harbin wrote in a June 2012 email exchange.

A memo sent July 10, 2014 reminded VA network directors that “as a general rule, veterans will not be advised to furnish a DD-214 with their application for health benefits.

Why not tell them to furnish the document? Whistleblower Scott Davis provides an explanation:

That’s because the VA, faced with a mounting backlog of pending applications, may have sought to blame some of the delay on incomplete paperwork rather than its own failure to address the applications, a whistleblower alleged.

So why do we think that bureaucrats who get their money from the political system relying on taxpayers and debt are going to be better than bureaucrats that get their money from the customers who pay for services?

No matter how bad you think people can get when they are in strictly private business, there is every reason to expect government bureaucrats to be worse.

Faith in government is not a result of experience. It is a superstition.