No Honor There: the Abuse of our Veterans

Written by Suzanne Olden on May 20, 2014

If you haven’t heard, the people who volunteer to stand tall and keep our freedoms safe have taken yet another round of abuse from the very government that is supposed to have their back. More than 40 veterans died waiting for care in the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system. They were put on a secret waiting list. Those who believe that there will be no “death panels” or healthcare withheld from the American people under Obamacare, please take note! It’s happening already.

The scheme was apparently cooked up at the highest levels of the Phoenix VA. It was put in place to hide that between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months to get an appointment and actually see a doctor. Many died waiting for those appointments. The delays in getting appointments is a nationwide problem and veterans all over have died waiting to be seen.

Instead of facing up to the problem, top officials at the Phoenix VA came up with a way to hide it. When it came to light, those same officials not only acknowledged they knew about it, but then defended the practice.

It basically was two sets of books, one “cooked” and one accurate. The “official” list was the “cooked” one that went to Washington. It showed that they were providing timely appointments. VA rules require that patients receive an appointment to see a doctor within 14 to 30 days. The real list, however, shows that people were waiting for months, and in some cases more than a year, to see a VA doctor.

The elaborate scheme involved shredding evidence to hide the real list of veterans. Staff were instructed not to make real appointments in the computer system. What would happen instead was that a veteran would come in to get an appointment and the staff would enter information into the computer system. The staff would then do a screen print for a hard copy, and then exit the screen without saving what they put in the computer. No actual record was made. Next the hard copies were gathered and the information was put on a secret electronic list. The hard copies (the only evidence that there was of when the veteran actually came in) were then shredded. No fuss, no muss, no pesky paper trail.

There was only two ways to get off the secret list. One was if you managed to get an appointment in less than the 14-30 day window. Those went back into the actual computer system and the Phoenix VA then looked like they had greatly improved waiting times. Once it looked like they were having great results in seeing patients, there was no reason to fix the actual problems for the patients. Who cares if they wait? The other way was if you die.

Now more charges are coming out from VA hospitals in St. Louis and Texas. We aren’t done with this yet… by a long shot. The VA was set up to service our veterans. It is government run healthcare. Let that sink in… government run healthcare. This isn’t Obamacare which is just health insurance. This is the government running a healthcare system. And they are failing miserably. People are dying. People who served their country and deserve better.

I read a quote by Representative Charlie Rangel. Can’t stand the man, and his comment was probably not meant in the spirit I’m going to give it, but he said that the issues coming out with the VA wouldn’t be happening “if it was a different class of people who were dying.” He’s absolutely right. If people other than those who served their nation were dying, if they were gay or a minority group, there would be a hue and cry that the White House wouldn’t be able to ignore. In fact, they’d probably be leading the charge. But they aren’t, they are veterans. Who cares?

White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged in a press briefing the other day that the administration must do more to address this issue and more that haven’t even come to light. I can’t believe Carney says half the things he does with a straight face, and this is no exception. The White House has been leading the charge in slashing military budgets, including pensions and VA budgets. What did they think was going to happen?

The left has no respect for our military. Our President is no different. This past Saturday, May 17th, was Armed Forces Day. It was also, apparently, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Guess which one got a tweet from the President and which one didn’t? (Hint: it wasn’t Armed Forces Day) And while the MSM keeps reporting about how the President is “mad as hell” over this VA situation, I would wonder if it was less because people were dying and more because it makes him look bad. Give him a week or two and he’ll be denying there was a problem in the first place.

We, as those they protected and served, should demand it. Not only because our veterans deserve better, but because if Obama and his cronies have their way, Obamacare will morph into government run healthcare. Then we’re next.

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Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.