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Dismantling the VA

By Larry Scott  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
The Senator's aide chuckled rather loudly and said, "What VA? By the time this administration is done there won't be a VA." Our conversation had begun with a discussion of VA's healthcare budget and quickly came down to a single, simple point. VA is being dismantled.

Three reasons why the administration would want to dismantle VA immediately come to mind.

VA is a large-scale, publicly-funded healthcare system that works. And, VA works so well it has been used as a model to push the case for nationalized healthcare, something that strikes fear in the heart of every Republican.

Recent studies by the Rand Corporation and the University of Michigan working with UCLA and Rand prove the point that VA is efficient and provides healthcare that meets the highest standards. If it can work for millions of veterans, it can work for millions of Americans. That concept is antithetical to current administration thinking.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina we learned that VA was the ONLY healthcare organization that managed to save ALL patient records. This is because VA uses a computerized system that was backed-up on a regional level and put back online in a matter of hours. Now that system is under attack by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Rep. Buyer wants to eliminate regional control of the system under the guise of saving money.

VA is ripe for privatization.
And that spells profits for private corporations. The latest move in this direction happened last week on Capitol Hill where the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs approved S. 1182 (see Sec. 10) which would spend money from VA's healthcare budget to study outsourcing the jobs of VA healthcare workers. The study, with VA healthcare funds going to private consultants, could cost over $140 million and lead to the loss of up to 36,000 VA jobs. Democrats opposed it but Republicans pushed it through.

VA is part of BIG government.
And that's something this administration abhors. GOP strategist Grover Norquist says he wants the government shrunk down so he can "drown it in the bathtub." The problem with this is that smaller government means fewer services as well as the much touted lower taxes. And, the jobs that are spared are outsourced and cost more to maintain because private corporations have to build in a profit margin.

So, while the concept of smaller government appeals to many, the economics fall into the "voodoo" category and the social ramifications spell disaster for those who need the programs that are cut back or eliminated. In fact, smaller government gives less but costs more per person served. And, I should remind Grover that 24.6 million veterans won't fit in a bathtub and the ones that do surely WILL drown.

Dismantling and privatizing VA is a big job. But the administration has enlisted like minds to sell the concept to the public.

Last year we had the CARES commission that recommended closing VA hospitals and clinics and urged making VA's primary mission outpatient treatment. This while the number of aging veterans, especially those from the Vietnam era, demands that more inpatient space be made available at VA facilities.

Then add the wisdom of Dr. David Chu, a DoD undersecretary, who said that the government is spending so much money on veterans' benefits that it is hurting the country's ability to fight current wars. Rep. Steve Buyer is pushing for
massive changes
in VA benefits. The Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission is studying ways to completely rewrite the book on veterans' benefits at the request of the administration.

To add to the above insults, VA has instituted a review of 72,000 PTSD claims that have already been awarded to veterans. Why? To increase their benefits? I don't think so! Also, VA has instituted the Second Signature Required policy for veterans filing claims for conditions that have the highest level of monetary award. Again, why? Again, I don't think so!

While VA represents a lifeline to veterans it is an ideological anchor to an administration that has gone out of its way to portray veterans' benefits as something akin to welfare. This assault on VA and veterans' benefits will not stop. The major service organizations know it yet all they do is go before a committee and testify that veterans are good guys and deserve benefits while their dues-paying members are waiting months for treatment at a VA facility or getting no treatment at all.

It's time for veterans to realize that the current administration has failed them. Smaller government and lower taxes are wonderful phrases and paint a glowing picture. But, the reality is much different than the painted picture. VA's chronic underfunding has led to hiring freezes, layoffs and the closing of healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of veterans are forced to go without healthcare.

Those in Congress who realize this are shouted down and voted down along party lines. Smaller government and lower taxes are obviously more important than veterans' lives. I pray for a change and urge my elected representatives to work for a change.

I don't look forward to a dismantled VA that puts veterans out on the street instead of in a hospital room. But, if the administration is successful, maybe we can chat about it while we share Grover's bathtub.

Larry Scott (former E-5) served four-plus years in the U.S. Army with overseas tours as a Broadcast Journalist at AFKN HQ, Seoul, Korea and AFN, Lajes Field, The Azores, Portugal and a stateside tour as a Broadcast Journalism Instructor at the Defense Information School (DINFOS). Larry was decorated four times including the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He was awarded DOD's First Place Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in Journalism. After the Army, Larry was a news anchor on WNBC Radio in New York City. He receives VA compensation for a service-connected disability. Today, Larry resides in Southwest Washington and operates the website VA Watchdog dot Org.
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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet (more...)

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