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Scandal Over Medical Care For Veterans

A claim of forty dead veterans—maybe more.  An alleged secret waiting list at a VA hospital. We’ll look at what’s gone wrong in American Veterans Affairs.

President Barack Obama, right,Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, center, and Vice President Joe Biden welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in celebration of the seventh annual Soldier Ride. (AP)

President Barack Obama, right,Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, center, and Vice President Joe Biden welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in celebration of the seventh annual Soldier Ride. (AP)

The headlines out of the Phoenix VA Health Care system were sickening.  US military veterans in need of medical attention put on secret waiting lists and left to die waiting for help.  Forty dead, is the claim.  And echoes of the problem around the country.  By late last week, calls were flying for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.  A lot of hot lines intersect here.  Obligation, politics, war and guilt.  Funding or under-funding.  Honesty.  We have the Phoenix whistle-blower with us, and the chairmen of both Congressional veterans affairs committees.  This hour On Point:  Uproar over vets, care, and the VA.

– Tom Ashbrook


Drew Griffin, investigative correspondent for CNN. (@DrewGriffinCNN)

Dr. Sam Foote, recently retired General Practitioner in the Veterans Affairs system.

Jacob Gadd, deputy director for health care for the American Legion. (@JacobGadd)

Jon Soltz, co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org, a supporter veterans group. (@jonsoltz)

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s 1st District. Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), junior U.S. Senator from Vermont. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. (@sensanders)

From Tom’s Reading List

CNN: A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list — “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list. The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.”

NPR: VA Secretary Responds To Call For His Resignation — “One issue, the VA Hospital in Phoenix where 40 patients are alleged to have died because of delays in their care. Another point of contention, a finding that clerks at a Colorado clinic were falsifying appointment records to cover up delays. The nation’s largest veteran’s group, the American Legion, says Shinseki’s leadership exhibits a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and today, three Republican senators piled on.”

The Wall Street Journal: Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Says He Won’t Resign — “The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday he won’t resign, but will work to rebuild confidence after the nation’s largest veterans organization called for him to step down Monday amid allegations of inadequate treatment of patients at some VA facilities.”

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