The Best VA Scandal Money Can Buy

Even with more money to fix the VA scandal the VA simply creates… more scandal.

Veterans Affairs is involved in more than one scandal. But, in the case of the secret waiting lists, Congress’ attempt to try to help veterans by giving the VA more money has backfired.

According to the Guy Benson at the Hot Air blog, “Surprise: After scandal fuels billions in new funding, VA wait times…increase.”

Congress passed a VA reform bill last July authorizing $17 billion in new VA spending, including $10 billion in emergency funds. Roughly a year later, things are 50 percent worse.  Money does not magically solve complex problems, and government will always been a clunky, unaccountable instrument for change.  As much as conservatives tee off on Obamacare — as we should, for many, many, many reasons — the VA scandal and ongoing dysfunction is the best argument against government-run medicine we have.  Think of it: Americans across the political spectrum agree that our veterans have earned our help in this regard and therefore support this discrete form of socialized healthcare.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle have immense political incentives to make sure these men and women are cared for adequately.  Doing right by our veterans is a consensus issue, the VA is funded generously, and yet…the agency is still failing miserably — a full year after an appalling scandal shocked and angered Americans. (As a reminder, the agency has been less than forthcoming about the repercussions for those responsible for said scandal).

And Fox News (which Benson cites) reports,

The number of veterans seeking health care but ending up on waiting lists of one month or more is 50 percent higher now than it was a year ago when a scandal over false records and long wait times wracked the Department of Veterans Affairs, The New York Times reported. The VA also faces a budget shortfall of nearly $3 billion, the Times reported in a story posted online ahead of its Sunday editions. The agency is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other significant moves to reduce the gap, the newspaper reported. In the last year, the VA has increased capacity by more than 7 million patient visits per year, double what officials originally thought they needed to fix shortcomings, the Times reported. However, the newspaper added, department officials did not anticipate just how much physician workloads and demand from veterans would continue to soar. At some major veterans hospitals, demand was up by one-fifth, the paper reported.

So they are doing a worse job and consuming even more money while doing this. Benson makes the point that this is why Obamacare is doomed. If we can’t take care of the Veterans when everyone wants them to be taken care of, then how are we going to take care of others?

But it also applies to the welfare state in general. As I mentioned when I posted about yet another VA scandal in Colorado, the purpose of government programs is not to actually provide the promised help. The promised help exists to justify funding the government programs—or, more specifically, to justify funding the people who are employed by the government programs. The VA is, again, demonstrating that principle.