9:34 AM, Aug 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The legislative fix has been passed and signed into law, along with a generous appropriation of new money. Also, a new top person has been named and confirmed. So time to move on from the VA and its woes. But before doing so, consider the magnitude of the problems and their duration. As Brad Schrade of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
By July 2012, the backlog of veterans whose applications were in so-called pending status had grown to 848,699, according to an internal VA analysis. VA’s backlog of pending health care applications had festered for more than a decade, and ... new online applications made the problem worse.
As many as 47,786 veterans whose applications languished in the pending application pool had died, according to the VA’s own records of deceased servicemen and women. Had any of them died because they failed to gain access to VA health care …?
According to Schrade, the source of the problem was a new, online system which the VA claimed was the best way to apply for benefits but that sent applicants into digital limbo. One analyst became aware of the problem and:
... prodded her superiors at the VA to solve the crisis in pending applications and fix the online system. Instead, the superiors ignored her warnings, she said, and continued to tell veterans that the online application was the fastest, easiest way to apply for VA health care.
Government. The things we do together.
11:20 AM, Aug 13, 2014 • By PETE HEGSETH
With the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote for the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, Congress passed the most significant reforms to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in decades. And, right on cue, here come the grumblings from the second-guessers.
9:12 AM, Aug 6, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Thanks to the marvels of the digital epoch, citizens can now track the government’s spending of public money. On a website, of all things. Of course, while the technology may change and improve, the eternals still apply.
7:59 AM, Jul 22, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There is a fairly robust debate about inflation going on these days. Is there too much? Not enough? Any at all? And just how much is too much? Can we hit the Goldilocks sweet spot?
7:04 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden and his entourage visited Brazil in mid-June to attend the USA versus Ghana World Cup game, a trip that also included meetings with both the president and vice president of Brazil.
9:01 AM, Jul 11, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
As anyone who has visited New York City knows, getting a taxicab in the city can prove very, very difficult. And finding a driver that speaks English, has working air conditioning, will let a visitor pay by credit card, and knows directions to major landmarks can be even harder. That’s why it’s utterly bizarre that the city is trying to stop drivers from offering taxi-like rides in the city for free.
Get them where they drive.9:24 AM, Jul 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Washington needs more money and if it doesn’t get it, your morning commute will become:
a) more expensive
4:05 PM, Jul 1, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Another day, another national crisis. Yesterday it was immigration and another threat/promise to go it alone.
11:12 AM, Jul 1, 2014 • By MICHAEL ASTRUE
Now that Washington has acknowledged cultural malaise and a broad failure to provide timely access to health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and the executive branch are competing frantically to show the public how hard they are working to fix that failure.
11:01 AM, Jun 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The white-hot issue of what to call the professional football team currently playing its home games in the vicinity of the nation’s capital just got hotter. Earlier this week, Senator Harry Reid said he wouldn’t accept comp tickets (truly a first for a sitting senator) to the team’s games so long as it continued to be called the “Redskins.”
1:08 PM, May 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
One of the more intriguing aspects of the VA health care scandal is the way the paperwork was creatively done to make it appear that the system was operating as it was meant to.
7:01 AM, May 21, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Just a day after House Republicans introduced legislation to roll back some Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations on school meal programs, the USDA
9:41 AM, May 14, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The featured speaker at a recent conference on “Excellence in Government,” was the secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack.