1 thought on “A Soldier Speaks, From Tomfoolery (@OTOOLEFAN)

  1. Jason

    Airborne18, I’m very sorry to hear about the frustrations you seem to be facing with the VA. I know several disabled veterans who have had their fair share of frustrations at the VA hospitals or with the administrative offices. With the WWII and Korea conflict veterans coming upon their golden years and the massive influx of wounded warriors from the middle east conflicts, they simply don’t have the infrastructure to support their current load. And sadly, those that end up suffering are those that most need they’re supposed to be serving. However, you should not confuse your frustration with a cabinet-level agency with a political party. Believe me, as a dyed in the wool conservative, there is no one on the right that hates veterans. Outside of stepping into a VFW lodge, you’ll never find a group of people more grateful and respectful of those who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom and our country. The Secretary of the VA is a presidentially appointed cabinet position. The current secretary, General Shinseki, was a West Point graduate and has Obama’s approval. Shinseki has direct access to the President so any issues with that Department should be vetted through those channels. Furthermore, in looking at the department’s budget over the past three years, it has significantly increased year after year. The total departmental budget for discretionary spending in 2010 was $53 billion. In 2011, the estimate is for that to increase to $56.9 billion. And it’s projected to further increase in 2012 to $58.7 billion. That’s an increase of over $5 BILLION dollars in two years. However, that budget has trouble keeping up with the growing need and the growing demand on already constrained resources. The IT infrastructure of the VA is greatly lacking. This network of health care facilities, if they have an IT infrastructure at all (some still operate on a largely paper patient record system, which is how that expose where thousands of veteran insurance claims were found in a dumpster came to pass) is usually not integrated with the other VA hospitals, which means each one operates in isolation. They don’t have synchronized or universally accessible patient files. The infrastructure, in a word, is broken. And yet IT spending within that budget decreases over the next two years. Can some of that be attributed to technology becoming less expensive? Sure. But my guess is that more money needed to be diverted to medical benefits and claims rather than the infrastructure to help build and support everything else. You should be reminded that the White House and both houses of congress had been controlled by democrats since 2008 up until the most recent mid-term elections so any frustrations you felt toward congress not supporting the VA or your representative not supporting veterans should have been aimed at the Democratic congress. The right has been faulted for a great many things, but I don’t think NOT supporting our troops has ever been one of those faults. If you’d like the full annual budgets for the Department of Veterans Affairs, I’d be glad to send them to you. You can get them off their website as well: http://www.va.gov/performance/ Thank you for your service to this country.



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