90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘We Have A Healthcare System With Problems’
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands in defeat after a divided Senate derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP)

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands in defeat after a divided Senate derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation’s veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP)

The ongoing debate around the Department of Veterans Affairs and the deaths of 40 veterans waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital is far from over. Embattled Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki is set to testify before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee later this week.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be leading the questioning at that testimony, and he joined On Point today to explain what he’s looking for from Sec. Shinseki.

“I certainly am not supporting the call for his resignation,” Sanders said. “I think in many respects he has done a good job.”

“If you look at issues like homelessness, which has been a serious problem for decades, the VA has made real progress in recent years under General Shinseki, and I think that’s a very positive step.”

While Sanders admitted the need for a greater transparency at the VA — a call his House counterpart, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), echoed just before him on our program — Sanders also pointed out just how archaic so much of the VA system remains in this modern age.

“The claims system at the VA…you know where they were, in 2009? On paper. What [Sec. Shinseki] had to do is develop an entire electronic system, which they have done.”

The six and half million-veteran VA health system ranks well among those patients receiving care, Sanders noted. Sanders also called into question the alleged cause of the patients at the Phoenix VA hospital, where this crisis first came to public light.

“We’re gonna get to the root cause of that,” Sanders said. “While we have got to get to the root causes of the problems in the VA, we also have to understand that we have a healthcare system throughout America that has problems. It’s just not the VA.”

Is Sanders correct? Are there larger issues at play in our national healthcare system beyond the failures at the VA? Is this a management problem? A funding problem? Something deeper?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 24, 2014
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  (AP)

We’ll look at privacy, security, and the battle heating up between intelligence agencies and tech companies that are moving to encrypt your communication.

Nov 24, 2014
Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments