“Should He Stay or Should He Go?”
As the nation hears more reports of failings at the Phoenix VA hospital and rumors of problems at other VA hospital, a growing chorus is demanding that the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki be fired or resign! This ever increasing choir is made up of elected officials from both political parties, veterans groups and more.
The question that is most often asked today is, “Should the President fire Sec. Shinseki?” But that is the wrong question. The question that should be asked is, “Will firing Sec. Shinseki get the 1700 names left off the waiting list in Phoenix back on it?” Or, “Will firing Sec. Shinseki speed up the wait time that our brave men and women in uniform have before receiving their initial diagnosis from a VA hospital?”
Actually, the real question we should be asking, the one that Congress should be focusing on, the one the President should be demanding be answered is,”How do we insure that our veterans get the prompt, professional and necessary treatment for any and all medical needs that they have?”
Too often when scandal breaks, we seek someone to blame. We look for someone’s head to roll, and then we move on, never making certain that the problem is fixed. In this situation, the problem goes beyond who is the Sec. of Veterans Affairs today. Poor medical care, terrible hospital conditions and denial of care has been a tragic problem that our veterans have had to contend with for decades. Anyone remember the debacle at the Walter Reed VA hospital? I have a friend whose husband’s body has been ravaged by the effects of Agent Orange and was denied medical care because the authorities denied there was a medical problem.
Perhaps replacing Sec. Shinseki would be a positive step toward a better VA, but if that is our focus, we are failing our vets again.
Write your Senators, Representatives and the President and demand that the VA system be investigated top to bottom and then demand they actually work toward making certain our vets are treated well. That may require a complete overhaul of the system or a development of a different way for vets to receive care, but we owe them.
These men and women have stood in the gap for us and now it is our turn to stand up for them!