GORDON DUFF: THE VA FUNDING DEBATE: A NEW SADDLE FOR A DEAD HORSE

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edseloldveteransIF THE VA WAS A CAR COMPANY

NEXT YEARS MODEL WOULD BE AN EDSEL WITH SQUARE WHEELS

by Gordon Duff, Staff Writer

Every year, our fatcats in government get a full and total physical, from head to toe.  There are special docs, deluxe hospital rooms and limousine service afforded to our lawmakers.  However, veterans, even totally disabled veterans, former POWs and recently returning wounded often get 5 minutes a year with an RN or a very incomplete check up with a primary care.

With a wife who teaches nurses how to give exams, I get plenty of feedback on what a real exam is.  We don’t get them.  There seems to be a minor problem with “accountability” and “treatment standards.”

We do have a Starbucks in our hospital lobby.  We have vaulted ceilings and marble floors.  We have armed guards everywhere, watching every veteran for a subversive gesture or glance.

Now that our generous Democrat brothers are in power, billions in new funding can be expected, new programs mandated.  Maybe I will find two Starbucks in the lobby next time?  What we won’t get is accountability.

We tried forcing the VA to handle claims faster.  They did.  By handling, they simply burned, shredded and hid claims.  Seems we forgot to tell them what “handle” means.

This is the kind of organization I want to throw billions of dollars at.

Has anyone ever read about a VA study on how many Gulf War veterans have gotten sick or have died?  No?  Perhaps this was a minor oversight on the part of the VA.

Anyone wonder where Vietnam veterans have gone?  How many have died of Agent Orange cancers?  Did we forget to check on that also?

I love the claims processing mess.  The VA acts like it all happened one day.  All of a sudden, thousands of documents are missing in just a few offices.  Nobody did it.  Then it mysteriously stopped as soon as it started.

Those of us who had documents “go missing” in the 70s know better.  We joined the tens of thousands of vets whose docs went missing in the 80s, 90’s and beyond.  I suspect we also have vets with docs that went missing in the 60s too, perhaps before that.

Here’s how it works:

A claim is filed in, lets say, 2000.  By 2008, the veteran finally has his total and permanent disability for an illness that began in, lets say, 1969.

However, when it is time to be paid, he finds that the records claim he filed for the first time in 2007, not 2000.  A back payment that should have paid off a house, now pays off a credit card.

During that time, children that were of college age, grew up with no educational benefits or health insurance.

In many cases, the stress and poverty caused by this systematic administrative gamesmanship has cost the vet his home, his marriage and his health.  How many thousands of vets have died before their VA claims were finished?

Perhaps the VA can ask Congress for money to study that.

Stage 2 involves dependents.  Compensation increases, insurance and educational benefits for dependents are part of law.  However, a veteran may have to send in a birth certificate or marriage license to the VA more than once.  They lost ones I sent in, certified mail, 3 times.

It can take another 5 years for a dependent to be added to benefits.  When they finally are, as in the case above, it would be, let’s say, 2013.

However, when the forms filed originally in 2000 and fraudulently dated 2008 are processed, they will show an application date of 2012.

Money that should have been due for 13 years, amounting to thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars will now only be a few hundred.

This is the practice.  This is how it is done.  This is what “organizations” are silent about.

THERE IS NO APPEAL, NO EVIDENCE IS ACCEPTED, NO WAY TO QUESTION THIS AND NOBODY HAS EVER SERIOUSLY QUESTIONED A PRACTICE EVERYONE WHO WORKS WITH VETS KNOWS HAS GONE ON FOR DECADES.

CHEATING VETERANS IS EASY, LIKE TAKING CANDY FROM A BABY.

Stage 3 involves medical care.  Totally disabled vets get dental care.  However, they are likely to be told they don’t qualify even if they do.  This helps “keep the lines down” at the dental clinic.  This is a common practice.

Many common dental procedures other than yanking out teeth are denied vets because of “funding shortfalls.”  When I needed bridgework, I spent my own money.  The VA couldn’t do it.  When I needed a root canal, I paid another thousand dollars on that.  The VA couldn’t do that either.

They said they didn’t have anyone qualified.  (and, I love my VA dental team)

Need to see a specialist for something serious?  You are as likely to be told that the treatment you require is “unavailable” for veterans.  How common is this?  This happens every single day.

We want to give billions of new funding to the VA but do absolutely nothing to secure fair and reasonable treatment for veterans, the people the money is supposed to benefit.

Bush tried closing facilities and cutting funding to save on waste.  Was he wrong?

Obama is pouring money into the VA.  Will it make a difference?


Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.gduff

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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.