President Trump ran his campaign on being an outsider with no special interests yanking his chain. Which was noticeable by his personal self-funding of his campaign, thus, one of the war cries of his campaign was the promise to “drain the swamp.” Only six months into the job and President Trump is already following through with his promise. Specifically in reference to the office of Veterans Affairs.
A leaked report has shown that more than 500 employees of the Veterans Affairs administration have been fired and that an additional 200 have been suspended. These numbers were initially released by The Daily Caller who received the information from Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. This is part of their longstanding commitment to transparency and revamping the Veterans Affairs administration which is famously known for their extraordinarily long wait times.
The report read,
“Those disciplined include 22 senior leaders, more than 70 nurses, 14 police officers, and 25 physicians.”
The systemic issues within the Veterans Affairs administration were made famous a few years back when veterans died waiting in line for their health care benefits. During the President’s campaign, he promised that no veteran would ever die again waiting for the benefits they had already earned by sacrificing their life and putting it on the line for our freedom. It appears he has kept that promise.
Secretary Shulkin said the following about the current crisis his agency is facing,
“Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government. Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent. Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.”
President Trump promised the United States would,
“take care of our veterans like they’ve never been taken care of before. We will pick up the bill … it’ll cost us less money and the care will be amazing. Some of the employees involved in these [wait list] scandals remained on the payrolls. Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”
The scandals within the administration have been astounding. Some divisions have been accused of such inefficiency and incompetence that their actions have resulted in the deaths of patients seeking care. If this is truly the case no wonder half a thousand people were fired. Another case that shows the staggering issue we have took place last year in August when a veteran committed suicide in a parking lot after he was rejected from a Veterans Affairs office located in Long Island, New York.
A February report sadly noted that some veterans who went to the administration seeking help were sent to a crisis hotline but then sent to voicemail because the office they were calling lacked the resources to properly staff their offices. Those calls were unsurprisingly never returned.
Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, a Veteran Affairs official was officially charged and arrested for sexually assaulting a patient they were servicing in Tomah, Wisconsin. Because of his crimes the mental health employee was charged with several cases of taking advantage of a patient who was vulnerable.
There is much debate over what will be the fix to change the problems within the Veterans Affairs administration. Conservatives often turn to the free-market based solution. This would mean that veterans who need medical attention would be given a voucher to aid in their arrangement of their healthcare appointment. It would be better compared to having to be funneled through a government provided care system where they would be waiting for weeks if not months.
Secretary Shulkin has already indicated what he plans to do to fix these problems. He has promised to help look for private industry solution such as the voucher system to effectuate the greatest and most productive change for our nation’s veterans. It is clear that with the help of President Obama that within a matter of months if not years the White House administration is going to drastically cut down wasteful spending as well as increase the efficiency that is so sorely lacking.
Our veterans deserve the best care possible and we owe it to them to do everything in our power to provide it to them. Good for President Trump for bringing this change about.