Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cooked Books

At last, a scandal that may actually have some impact on the Obama Administration. Whistle blowers have confirmed what we have known for decades -- that the Veterans Administration's healthcare system is a cesspool of incompetence, corruption and sheer disdain for human suffering and need. 40 veterans have so far been identified as having died for lack or care, and because of abuse and neglect. And what began as one VA hospital in Arizona having been exposed for cooking the books to hide its incompetence and inhumanity, so that bureaucrats could collect their performance bonuses, has now grown to an investigation of over 30 facilities across the nation. The sweet little scam that these bureaucrats have been running is to create false lists of veterans who are claimed to have received medical care so that the bureaucrats might be rewarded for meeting their performance quotas. Meanwhile, the vets have been made to wait weeks, even months, for an appointment to see a doctor, and, in some cases that we now know of, have died as a result.

The president, of course, has claimed, as he always does, that he learned of this shocking state of affairs only when he read about it in the newspapers. Now, he has said the same thing with regard to several other scandals, declaring days or even weeks after the fact that the situation is "unacceptable," and that he is "mad as hell" about it. Empty rhetoric, lack of leadership, incompetence and unconcern: these are the Obama style. But, having campaigned on his determination to correct the disgrace at the VA, and having been in office for five and a half years, these particular chickens have come home to his Oval Office to roost. He cannot claim he knew nothing about it (his habitual excuse), since his administration had been warned several times about the situation at the VA hospitals, specifically in 2010 by the Government Accounting Office, which cited the phony waiting lists and faked treatment numbers. No, Obama cannot smile and shinny his way out of this one with the help of the media, for, even if some of us don't much care about reporters being harassed by the government, or citizens groups being targeted by the IRS, or guns being sold illegally to drug cartels in Mexico, or massive NSA spying, or American citizens being marked for summary execution without due process, or even about a U.S. ambassador being murdered in Libya, everybody cares about veterans and how they are treated. So this albatross, at least, has fallen firmly around President Obama's neck, and even his servants in the press can't seem to shake it off him.

But to me, the larger question is this: Who in this nation can fail to understand that the same kind of bureaucrats with the same attitudes toward their jobs and the public who created the scandal in the VA will also be responsible for the healthcare of all of us under Obamacare? If they would do this to veterans who need care urgently, what do you think they will do to the average guy who needs an appendectomy or just a routine checkup? Let me make this clear: Obamacare is in the charge of the federal bureaucracy, and, by and large, federal bureaucrats, as they have shown in the VA scandal, don't give a damn about people or their suffering or their rights. They care about their jobs, their bonuses and their pensions.

And if you think for one moment that such bland, anonymous functionaries aren't going to ration care and set up panels to enforce the rationing, and watch your dear Aunt Millie waste away and die because she's 85 after all and in chronic ill health and the quality of her life doesn't merit the effort to keep her alive, all you have to do is read Barack Obama's response to a journalist who asked him what we should do when an elderly and ill relative is denied the care she needs because there is not enough to go around. Did he outrage against the idea? Did he even try to deny it? No, he said in so many words that all you can do is help the person come to terms with her death and say goodbye. And this is because Obama is, himself, the uber-bureaucrat, incompetent, uncaring and capable only of phony, staged ire at the very behavior which he models from the top down.

The knee-jerk reaction of the liberals to any challenge to socialized medicine is to say (as was recently said to me), "So, you want to see people die!" No, I do not. But the foolishness of the assertion does not, apparently, dissuade leftists from making it. However, we are now seeing people die -- people who have served and, in some cases, risked their lives for the nation -- in the only government-run healthcare system that currently exists in America, the model for the single-payer national system that so many on the left desire. And if I am right, that Obamacare was merely a Potemkin-style way-station on the road to socialized medicine, then the VA system is what we all have to look forward to. Though the media will try to deny it, this is more than just another scandal of this corrupt administration: It is a warning to all of us.