In a speech Wednesday morning, Barack Obama addressed the ongoing scandal regarding inordinate waiting periods for patients at facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Though he assured Americans that such delays are unacceptable, he questioned whether they played any part in dozens of veteran deaths.
He cited a report by the Inspector General, noting that “he did not see a link between the wait and them actually dying.”
While that claim is technically true regarding the investigation into the Phoenix VA system at the epicenter of the current scandal, Obama did not mention the department’s own report linking delayed treatment to at least 23 deaths across the nation.
Last month, reports indicate that the VA-admitted veterans died at 13 of its facilities due to complications directly linked to their inability to receive timely treatment. At one hospital in Columbia, S.C., 20 delays were reported, proving fatal for six veterans.
Affecting at least 76 veterans in total, the VA confirmed postponed endoscopies were responsible for the nearly two dozen deaths. Reports indicate most of the incidents occurred between 2010 and 2011.
After the report was released, VA Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller spoke out against the deadly delays. While the Republican saw the internal report as a step toward restoring trust in the department, he said its findings were “heartbreaking.”
Furthermore, Miller noted that officials within the VA were not held accountable. Over the past month, as allegations of delays and cover-ups exploded, many Americans believe those in charge are still avoiding responsibility.
After one top official, Dr. Robert Petzel, announced his resignation, it became clear he was already planning to step down later this year. As for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (pictured), Obama explained he would not only be keeping his job but would also head up the investigation into his own department.
Photo Credit: Facebook/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom