May 22nd, 2014
08:15 AM ET
4 months ago

House VA chairman: ‘This is just the tip of the iceberg’

(CNN) - The chairman of the congressional committee charged with investigating allegations of cooked books, a secret wait list and cover-ups in the Veterans Affairs health care system says the findings are "just the tip of the iceberg."

"I know there's more to come," Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee said on New Day on Thursday. "We've received some information and some tips that will make what has already come look like kindergarten stuff."

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Filed under: Congress • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. ProudDem

    Randy, San Francisco

    There are obvious questions BOTH Democratic and Republican politicians do not want to ask. Is there a shortage of doctors to meet scheduling goals? Did Congress fail to provide adequate funding to hire enough doctors? Can VA patients be absorbed by Medicare or the Affordable Health Care Act?

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Good Questions, and no, there are not enough Doctors. The number of new patients rose by over 100%. This was due to the two long wars, as well as the recent inclusion of PTSD and Agent Orange as acknowledged illnesses. In that same time, the number of Doctors has risen by only 9%. We've increased spending, but some thing you just can't throw money at. This is an overload of the system.

    These people who cooked their numbers should be fired, but let's everyone remember that they were cooking them specifically to HIDE THEM from the administration, an administration who had set goals for how soon patients would be seen. People who hate the POTUS are going to hate him, no rational argument will sway them. He is personally to blame for everything that goes wrong across the planet, and should get credit for no good thing ever.

    May 22, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The GOP would throw a rock through a window to prove it is broken."

    Republicans left our government and its citizens is a freaking free-fall and have done nothing but spend the ensuing years whining that the "broken window" wasn't broken by them, they don't know how it got broken; and complaining its not getting fixed fast enough, all the while they continue to throw one rock after rock through that same broken window.

    Infants. All. Of. Them. And they want us to "trust" them to get things done.

    May 22, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Bill from GA

    If the House were half as much concerned about solving the problems with the VA as they were about finding a way to blame Obama for the problem, these problems would have been solved before Obama took office.

    For that matter, most any of our country's problems could be solved, if that were their goal.

    May 22, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. just asking

    Anonymous
    jerry
    and obama assigns the VA director (cabinet member) to fix the problem…his usual fix.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    It IS the VA Secretary's job to "fix" the problem. Who do YOU think the President should task to "fix" it?
    --

    he's been there 5.5 years now. he had every opportunity to fix it and didn't. every person at that top that can be fired needs to be fired immediately to send the message this sort of thing will not be tolerated. the fish rots from the head. off with it.

    May 22, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Silence DoGood

    @rs
    Mr. Miller: Have you ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? You guys on the Right have no credibility anymore. Everything you run across suddenly is the next "big scandal". Your record is 0 for 5 on the scandal meter.
    Face it- you guys started two wars that quadrupled the number of veterans needing health care. At the same time you only boosted the VA budget by something less than 100%. Your bad planning does not create a scandal for this administration. You're just playing politics again, with our troops. You are revolting!
    ---------
    Thanks again for a statement of the obvious! I have watched and listened to these talk-show entertainers as long as I can before I throw up in my mouth. The story line is the same every day: "That last er-scandal was er- um never-mind. But just you WAIT until you hear the BIG News today. This will REALLY sink that Obama guy!!!" Day after day after day....
    (immature) Boy who cried wolf is perfect.

    May 22, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. sonny chapman

    Bill from Ga-you are right. I guess if God had made humans a little bit better, instead of relying on us to TRY to be better folks, we wouldn't have 1/2 the problems we have.

    May 22, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Tommy G

    Obama didn't have a one-on-one meeting with Shinseki for TWO YEARS prior to his recent one on one after this went nuclear. Obama took over 3 weeks to personally address this. To say his is disengaged and uninterested in doing his job is the understatement of the century. Even his signature 'accomplishment', one bearing his name, wasn't enough for him to keep a close watch on its implementation. Obama is simply an incompetent, disengaged President. There are now far too many examples to deny this. Only Democrat koolaide drinkers continue to lie and cover for this clown and the never ending clown show they call his administration.

    May 22, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. CryBabies

    rs.....Of course....its Bush's fault. Of course! As I said in an earlier blog site yesterday, watch how many fundraisers Obama hits in the next two weeks ( rather than stay at home and roll up his sleeves). By the way...it was annonced today... two fundraisers tonight in Chicago! Who would have thought???

    May 22, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Adman

    I am a physician in private practice in a city that also contains a large VA hospital and outpatient facility. The VA has the same problems that most government run agencies encounter: low productivity due to lack of incentive. Many physicians from my current hospital have taken positions at the VA over the last few years for one reason: Much less work required (including no call obligations) for the same (or sometimes even more) pay. In the VA system, physicians are paid the same whether they see 50 patients a day or
    10. Therefore, there is no productivity or efficiency, and this trickles down to fewer patient visits and longer "waiting lists." Yet the costs are still extremely high per patient since the overhead is still essentially the same. So, here's what you have to look forward to as we move to a single payer system. Yes, everyone will be "covered," but get ready to wait.

    May 22, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Anonymous

    just asking

    he's been there 5.5 years now. he had every opportunity to fix it and didn't. every person at that top that can be fired needs to be fired immediately to send the message this sort of thing will not be tolerated. the fish rots from the head. off with it.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You can't fix a problem if you don't know it exists.

    Proud Dem nailed it by stating: These people who cooked their numbers should be fired, but let's everyone remember that they were cooking them specifically to HIDE THEM from the administration, an administration who had set goals for how soon patients would be seen. People who hate the POTUS are going to hate him, no rational argument will sway them. He is personally to blame for everything that goes wrong across the planet, and should get credit for no good thing ever.

    May 22, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. smith

    @rs-The problems at the VA are decades old, the blame Bush card doesn`t work here.

    May 22, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Adman

    I am a physician in private practice in a city that also contains a large VA hospital and outpatient facility. The VA has the same problems that most government run agencies encounter: low productivity due to lack of incentive. Many physicians from my current hospital have taken positions at the VA over the last few years for one reason: Much less work required (including no call obligations) for the same (or sometimes even more) pay. In the VA system, physicians are paid the same whether they see 50 patients a day or
    10. Therefore, there is no productivity or efficiency, and this trickles down to fewer patient visits and longer "waiting lists." Yet the costs are still extremely high per patient since the overhead is still essentially the same. So, here's what you have to look forward to as we move to a single payer system. Yes, everyone will be "covered," but get ready to wait.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    America will never have a single payer system.

    May 22, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Adman

    I am a physician in private practice in a city that also contains a large VA hospital and outpatient facility. The VA has the same problems that most government run agencies encounter: low productivity due to lack of incentive. Many physicians from my current hospital have taken positions at the VA over the last few years for one reason: Much less work required (including no call obligations) for the same (or sometimes even more) pay. In the VA system, physicians are paid the same whether they see 50 patients a day or
    10. Therefore, there is no productivity or efficiency, and this trickles down to fewer patient visits and longer "waiting lists." Yet the costs are still extremely high per patient since the overhead is still essentially the same. So, here's what you have to look forward to as we move to a single payer system. Yes, everyone will be "covered," but get ready to wait.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In other words, it the physicians at the VA are the problem. Thanks, doc, for clarifying that.

    May 22, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Bill from GA

    "What is not yet clear to me is whether enough tools were given to make sure those goals were actually met,"

    In part, we do have a shortage of doctors, at the VA and overall.

    Blame that on Capitalism. If the smartest students can go into finance and make 50 times per year what a doctor in general practice can make, why would they study medicine? If doctors charged enough to even double their yearly earnings, health care costs would skyrocket.

    Does anyone think that Congress will address the doctor shortage, with some type of incentives? Maybe subsidize their education? Tax doctors income lower? Investment bankers can often claim all of their income is capital gains. Like they don't make enough, they need a tax break.

    May 22, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "he's been there 5.5 years now. he had every opportunity to fix it and didn't."'

    Do you have proof he knew about these "secret lists" that have allegedly been "destroyed" all 5.5 years? Part of the accusations here is that the people who were doing the bad things were actively doing everything they could to keep them secret. Guess how high Shinseki is on the list of people from whom they'd want to keep it secret. Guess.

    Now, this is the part where you get out your lance and go full gallop at the windmill while shouting "it was all ordered from the top down starting with Obama!!!!!! Cover up....COVER UP!!!!!!" You let us know when you find those elephants in the strawberry patch, mmmkay?

    May 22, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Obama is simply an incompetent, disengaged President"

    ....who is so engaged and overly active that he's consolidated all power in himself and turned himself into a dictator with micromanagement control over everything.

    Psssst: your cognitive dissonance is showing.

    May 22, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "If the House were half as much concerned about solving the problems with the VA as they were about finding a way to blame Obama for the problem, these problems would have been solved before Obama took office."

    Bingo!

    May 22, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "rs.....Of course....its Bush's fault. Of course! As I said in an earlier blog site yesterday, watch how many fundraisers Obama hits in the next two weeks ( rather than stay at home and roll up his sleeves). By the way...it was annonced today... two fundraisers tonight in Chicago! Who would have thought???"

    Now that you've proven witticism isn't your best feature how about you go full speed ahead and give us an encore?

    May 22, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. ProudDem

    Tommy G, only a fool would presume to think they know anything about the POTUS' schedule. So someone looked at the official calendar and didnt see any one on ones and they think that means the two men didn't speak? Laughable to any rational person. This POTUS actually likes to take some time to gather facts before he speaks on a subject...the horror. You hate the man, we get it. Everything is his fault. Lets get a GOP back in the oval office to drive us into another recession and give millionaires more tax breaks, maybe start a few wars...that'll fix everything.

    May 22, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    The GOP is so shallow. They hate all these programs that do anything for anyone. But I bet if a scandal is discovered in say, Social Security, they would be the first ones on the corner, on a soap box, crying out "Who is helping all these Poor People who need the help". Because they hate Obama even more than the people in need.

    May 22, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. yeahright

    BADGUY
    What a joke! When I got "bandied about" in the VA, Ronny Ray-Gun was President..and the VA was denying the effects of Agent Orange. this ISN'T an Obama scandal. It's been going on since after WWII. Let's find out WHY government bureaucrats "doctored" records and WHY they felt they had to. I.E...QUIT with the politics and GET with the fixes!
    --------

    EXACTLY-the system is structurally unable to do what it needs to do. You take a system which is incapable of handling
    veterans needs in 14 days or less, tell employees they are being judged by wait times, and then act surprised when it is revealed records have been doctored? It's human nature. Unfortunately, these days scoring political points has become more important than our veterans, our citizens or our country.

    May 22, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. yolanda

    Sad to see that most of the posts are more concerned about assigning blame than calling for better care of our veterans. If any of you ever have the opportunity to visit a VA hospital, do so. It is a sobering experience and will put this partisan squabbling in perspective. Have a happy Memorial Day weekend and pause for a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    May 22, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    smith wrote:

    @rs-The problems at the VA are decades old, the blame Bush card doesn`t work here.
    ------------------------------------–
    Why not blame Republicans for some of it? Bush started two wars, and then cut back on V.A. facilities. The V.A. kept track of patients using paper, instead of computers when Bush was sworn in. The V.A. was still tracking patient files using paper when Pres. Obama was sworn, despite a more than 100% increase in the numbers of clients being served.

    The Republicans tried to close up historic Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. by attempting to privatize it back in 2005, and the Tea Party is at it again.. The Tea Party comes to the House and growth in V.A. spending is dramatically curtailed. And where has the House Veterans Affairs Committee been in all of this?

    May 22, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known,

    Sounds more like unaccountability is known .

    Fix the VA !

    May 22, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Time To Move On

    Hearings and investigations doesn't solve problems. The senate and congress need to find solutions. How about some legislation for a change. I for one am tried of constant hearings with no results. It is nothing but grandstanding and political bashing and I mean from both parties. Enough already do what we sent all of you there to do.

    May 22, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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