Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn't Free

30 June 2014

Don't fail to lead

   With the appointment of Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Administration Secretary, we Veterans can only hope that he McDonald (if appointed by the Senate) won't fail to lead.
   He certainly has a track record of leading.  Up until the end of his term at Proctor & Gamble he increased just about everything about the company (market share, product lines, etc.).  McDonald was also distinguished at West Point.  And I don't know anyone who will give him any grief about his service in the 82nd Airborne.  Now, all we can hope, is that the politicians will give him the tools he needs to succeed.  This includes the ability to fire bureaucrats and others in the VA system who have caused, in part, the VA Scandal. 
   There are other things McDonald has to do to succeed at the VA.  Here's my ideas for the next VA Secretary:
   Take out the trash.  I already stated this above, but it bears another mention. He can't be afraid to fire people if they were/are a part of the caustic culture that seems to permeate the VA.  This will undoubtedly include stepping on political toes.  Those political toes should have NOTHING to do with the healthcare of our Veterans.  He needs to be given the ability to fire people for cause, something unions aren't fond of.  I could care less.  For that matter, everyone should care less.
   Modernize the VA.  I'm not just talking about the antiquated computer systems used by the VA which haven't been updated since the 1980's (yes really). I'm talking about how they treat Veterans and what they treat.  One of the biggest maladies confronting our Veterans of today is PTSD.  Newer ways of treatment for PTSD should be a forerunner of the new VA.
   Eliminate the Million Vet Backlog.  When you are in a perimeter defense you shore up the weakest area that is being attacked.  To accomplish this for the VA doctors from other federal agencies (HHS, CDC, etc) should be rushed in, along with opening up Veterans to private healthcare options.  We need to stop the bleeding, in more ways than one. 
   Do away with the assembly line mentality.  This has a lot to do with the Veteran backlog and waiting lists.  VA doctors basically operate as if they were on an assembly line in Detroit.  Doctors shouldn't feel pressured to spend 3-4 minutes and then off to another patient.

  Do I think change is right around the corner for the VA?  No, that would be absurd.  Hopefully the waiting lists will be knocked down if Congressional politicians can get off their duffs and pass a bill authorizing Veterans to go to private healthcare facilities, but that is just a stopgap.  No, real change will take time.  In the meantime, its up to Veterans and other Patriots to keep the political feet to the proverbial fire on the VA Scandal.  Just as the resignation of Gen. Shinseki didn't solve the problem, the confirmation of his successor won't fix anything all by itself.
   That is all.

27 June 2014

Veterans taking care of Veterans

   I originally set up this blog to view my concerns about Veterans issues.  That was a couple months ago.  A comrade of mine has pushed me to publish the blog but I've always had trouble with time, among other things.  With the recent VA Scandal( the origins of which are not recent at all), I have pushed myself to react.
   While some called for the resignation of VA Secretary John Shinseki, I never thought that was the answer.  Its like cutting the head off of a mythical hydra, another head grows back.  Its the same thing.  We, as Veterans and as a country, must transform the Veterans Administration healthcare system.  It isn't working and hasn't been working for decades. 
   The recent legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have stalled.  That's right, the politicians cant figure out how to reconcile both bills into one bill that they will pass.  So all that talk about Veterans being able to go to any hospital, that's all smoke and mirrors right now.Check out a story about why its stalled and why it wont be passed by the Independence Day recess by Congress here
   So, once again, the politicians and bureaurcrats are twiddling their thumbs, doing nothing to fix the problem.  And the problem is millions of Veterans are waiting for healthcare they deserve and need.  Now.    According to a report by Sen. Tom Coburn, thousands of Veterans have died due to misconduct by the VA.
   Amidst all of this, the VA put out a tweet on its twitter account about saving the oceans,  When I read the tweet I was amazed.  The VA is in the middle of a scandal which has cost the lives of Veterans.  And they are worried about climate change and the like.  This illustrates the depth of the problem we Veterans face.  The VA Scandal has to be solved, now rather than sooner or later. 
   The last thing I want to do with this blog is to have it become some sort of political ruse.  I will say that this problem with the VA has gone on through several different presidential administrations.  President Obama said he was going to straighten it out when he was campaigning to be president back in 2008.  Last night he was fundraising.  It isn't solving the VA scandal or any of the problems with the VA. 
   And this blog wont solve the VA scandal.  But everyone that reads this blog can help to end it.  Call your representative and senators.  Tell them they have the obligation to take care of the Veterans of this country.  They signed on the dotted line to protect our country and they paid a price. Now the politicians and the bureaurcrats can't decide how to give those Veterans the care they deserve.  Then tell the politicians you can't decide how to vote the next time they are up for re election.  When I have called my comgressmen I have also told them I don't give a care about recycling or climate change, until they fix the VA healthcare system.  Take care of our Veterans above all else. 
That is all.