President Obama is embroiled in two Veterans Affairs scandals: 1) fabricated documents and secret waiting lists for health care, with dozens of veterans dying while waiting for appointments; and 2) waiting lists for disability benefits. The former is now the subject of a criminal investigation opened by the Phoenix office of the FBI just days after the release of a bipartisan letter from 21 U.S. senators to the Department of Justice calling for a criminal investigation.
“Evidence of secret waiting times, falsification of records, destruction of documents, and other potential criminal wrongdoing has appalled and angered the nation, and imperiled trust and confidence in the Veterans Health Administration,” the senators wrote in the letter, which was sent late last week to Attorney General Eric Holder.
“The spreading and growing scale of apparent criminal wrongdoing is fast outpacing the criminal investigative resources of the IG, and the revelations in the interim report only highlight the urgency of involvement by the Department of Justice,” they wrote.
That story was receiving a lot of media attention until the President announced his swap of five members of the Taliban high command for one American deserter; and since then, there has hardly been any coverage of it. It was even being labeled a scandal in the mainstream media, with some arguing that, unlike Benghazi and the IRS, this one was a real scandal. But that was because they could argue that it was a scandal that began during previous administrations, and thus there was no specific blame on Obama’s shoulders.
The other scandal, unresolved disability benefits, has received even far less attention in the news-even though it is also a systemic, long unaddressed problem.
The Obama administration’s inability to address the veterans’ disability backlog is a stain on the reputation of our nation, making it harder for veterans suffering from physical disabilities or PTSD to afford food, shelter, and the comforts of life after service.
But, as Obama misleadingly stated last month, “we launched an all-out war on the disability claims backlog.” His statements are like those about the war on poverty—a lot of rhetoric, but not much movement.
“And in just the past year alone, we’ve slashed that backlog by half,” continued President Obama in his May 21 speech. “Of course, we’re not going to let up, because it’s still too high. We’re going to keep at it until we eliminate the backlog once and for all.”
The disability claims backlog hasn’t been slashed under President Obama; it has only grown. He is able to claim that disability claims have been slashed in half because he is selectively measuring from the point where they skyrocketed to a whopping 611,000 in March 2013.
In contrast, it was reported this week that 57,000 veterans have been waiting more than 90 days to visit a doctor for the first time; and a Veterans Affairs representative has announced that the department has begun contacting these veterans immediately.
But the veteran disability backlog has only gone downhill since Obama took office: “The ranks of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, to 245,000 in December [of 2012]—an increase of more than 2,000 percent,” reported Aaron Glanz for the Center for Investigative Reporting in March 2013.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom