The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Congress pretends it just learned of VA health care crisis

Mar 19, 2007

The U.S. House Veterans Affairs subcommittee is holding hearings into the medical treatment of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Government Accountability Office reported that the VA system is on the verge of a crisis, with a backlog of 600,000 claims and a waiting time of 127 to 177 days for an initial claim to be processed.

Since the scandal broke about dilapidated conditions at the Walter Reed Medical Center, three high-ranking military officers have either been fired or forced to resign. Kevin Kiley, the army’s surgeon general recently resigned, following the firing of Major General George Weightman, the commander of Walter Reed, and the resignation of Army Secretary Francis Harvey.

Everyone understands that the three ousted officers are being used as scapegoats. Members of Congress pretend as though this is the first they are learning of the problem – as if they didn’t know it costs money to run a health care system, to staff hospitals, provide equipment, etc.

Every member of Congress, who voted on the VA budgets year after year knew full well that it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to treat returning wounded soldiers. Each time, they all, Republican and Democrat alike, voted to shortchange the veterans’ medical system. The president knew. The whole top military staff knew.

They all agreed that the human beings they used as cannon fodder to fight the war should be tossed aside on a garbage heap when they returned.

Don’t let them pretend they didn’t know!