Saturday, September 17, 2016

Walker Ignores VA problems, while Dumb Ron Johnson schemes to privatize Veterans Health Care.

Let’s get something straight, we haven’t heard squat from Scott Walker about what he’s doing specifically to solve a number of major state disasters under his watch; VA neglect and staffing, road construction funding, and reform of the juvenile prison system?
  
Hate Government, Hate Governing: It’s becoming painfully obvious Republicans can’t and won't govern, and instead wait, study, discuss, debate, wait again, seek advice, pass a tax cut or two, debate, wait again, and then look "more deeply" into the worsening problem.

Where’s Walker? Let's take a look: There have been no “big, bold” moves to quickly reform the juvenile prison problem fraught with sexual abuse, retaliation, excessive force, and child neglect. No rush?

He’s done nothing to fund transportation by suggesting budget cuts that might be used to finish all the current road work. Where are the “big, bold” unintimidated decisions that must be made? Outrageous multiyear delays don’t sound like solutions to me.

And the point of my post: Walker has done nothing "big and bold" to help rescue the troubled Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Neglected housing, turning away veterans seeking help, and over prescriptions...seriously, let's wait and see?

Dumb Ron Johnson to the Rescue?: Ron Johnson is in direct competition with Scott Walker for being the most irresponsible big talker of them all. Why are U.S. Senators and Congress people getting involved anyway when this should be Gov. Walker's responsibility?

As usual, Johnson was too busy to attend another "listening session," so me made his staff do the busy work for him:
Officials at the Tomah VA Medical Center provided a briefing Friday to the staff of Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson over the care a U.S. Army veterans at the facility before his apparent suicide. In his statement, Johnson said: 
“I appreciate that the VA provided a briefing to my staff about Brian Rossell’s care at the Tomah VA Medical Center. I remain very concerned about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Rossell’s death, and I will continue to seek information from the VA. As chairman of the chief oversight committee of the Senate, I have worked to hold the VA accountable to honor the promises to the finest among us, our nation’s veterans. America’s and Wisconsin’s veterans deserve no less."
Johnson has worked...toward what? Johnson's real goal and passion has been to privatize health care, and just by coincidence, his party wants to do just that to VA health care services. What Johnson might be doing is gathering health care horror stories to make his case that includes a Republican "commission" to make the VA go private;
The 15-member Commission on Care has just concluded a damning report, finding that "many profound deficiencies" at the troubled agency "require urgent reform. America's veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system" … flawed governance, insufficient staffing, inadequate facilities, antiquated IT systems and inefficient use of employees.
Oddly, this last spring a small group of special interest privateers on the commission…
…met in secret and unilaterally expanded the Commission's mandate, preparing a 20-year comprehensive plan to dismantle the VA. 

The 15 member Commission of Care” is dominated by private health care industry executives, and veterans themselves have no voice on the commission. Indeed, not even one of the nation's veterans' service organizations is represented. A Koch Brothers lobby group Concerned Veterans "advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and prosperity. In the name of decreasing the budget deficit, Concerned Veterans also lobbies for tightening restrictions on veteran access to VA benefits and other "cost-cutting" measures. "They have these people out there saying, 'We're giving VA too much.'
The test move to privatize VA services is failing too. Not surprisingly, the "commission" wants to expand on that failure:
In 2015, the Veterans Choice Program was created with the goal of giving veterans greater access to health care in their communities through private care. Since its launch, however, veterans seeking to use the Choice Program have been met with longer wait times, worse service, and harassment from the private medical providers seeking payment ... the Commission is now recommending that the privatization program be expanded. Health care columnist Suzanne Gordon warned in her blog at the American Prospect, "As funding for costly private sector care eats up more of the VHA's annual budget, there will be hospital and clinic closings, along with VHA staff layoffs."
The terminology:
The terms "community service provider" and "community choice" may sound welcoming, but the terms are often "a cover for private for-profit health care companies to take over services ... "the dollars follow the patients," is just a euphemism for vouchers. So who cares what veterans want?
The veterans' groups March statement opposing privatization cited an independent assessment that concluded that "VA performed significantly better on almost all 16 outpatient measures when compared with commercial, Medicare and Medicaid HMO's.
"Eighty percent did not want private vouchers to replace fully-covered health care. "What is most unsettling ... is the utter lack of consideration that veterans would want to improve and expand the VA health care system,"
One more thing:
The privatization proposal could also have a devastating impact on the 113,000 veterans who work in the VA, who make up one third of its workforce. The VA's work force is made up of 59 percent women and 40 percent minorities

1 comment:

greg miller said...

i hope Russ Feingold can pick up on this problem and hammer Johnson with it.