Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on Friday that the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal is no big deal and that the Republicans want it to fail. But she's completely wrong.
On "The Rachel Maddow Show," she said that the VA scandal is not "as widespread as it has been made out to be."
“I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and, overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment," Clinton said.
While she admitted that there were some problems with the VA, Clinton thought that there were some reforms put in place that will solve the problem. Clinton criticized Republicans for supposedly sabotaging the VA with a lack of funding.
"They try to create a downward spiral, don’t fund it to the extent that it needs to be funded, because we want it to fail, so then we can argue for privatization," Clinton said. "They still want to privatize Medicare. they still want to do away with Social Security, and these are fights we’ve been having for 70, 80 years now. so we cannot grow weary in the face of these ideological assaults on basic fundamental services, whether it’s the VA, Medicare, Social Security, but we have to be more creative about trying to fix the problems that are the legitimate concerns so that we can try to stymie the Republican assault."
Everything Clinton said is false. But first a little background.
The VA scandal came to the forefront in 2014, when a brave whistleblower revealed that VA facilities throughout the country were doctoring wait times by putting veterans on secret lists, which were essentially death sentences for everyone on the lists since they would not receive the care they needed. And yet, the VA used these lists to claim that waiting times declined in order to receive bonuses as high $400 million a year.
"We have to be more creative about trying to fix the problems that are the legitimate concerns so that we can try to stymie the Republican assault."
CNN had a particularly heartbreaking anecdote regarding Navy veteran Thomas Breen:
"We had noticed that he started to have bleeding in his urine," said Teddy Barnes-Breen, his son. "So I was like, 'Listen, we gotta get you to the doctor.' "
Teddy says his Brooklyn-raised father was so proud of his military service that he would go nowhere but the VA for treatment. On September 28, 2013, with blood in his urine and a history of cancer, Teddy and his wife, Sally, rushed his father to the Phoenix VA emergency room, where he was examined and sent home to wait.
"They wrote on his chart that it was urgent," said Sally, her father-in-law's main caretaker. The family has obtained the chart from the VA that clearly states the "urgency" as "one week" for Breen to see a primary care doctor or at least a urologist, for the concerns about the blood in the urine.
"And they sent him home," says Teddy, incredulously.
For the next couple of months, the family tried to get in contact with the VA, only to be told: "We have other patients that are critical as well. It's a seven-month waiting list. And you're gonna have to have patience." Breen passed away on Nov. 30, 2013; the VA called for an appointment for Breen on Dec. 6, 2013.
Breen reportedly suffered greatly toward the end of his life.
"He screamed. He cried. And that's somethin' I'd never seen him do before, was cry," Sally told CNN. "Never. Never. He cried in the kitchen right here. 'Don't let me die.' "
Teddy also told CNN that his father said, "Why is this happening to me? Why won't anybody help me?"
Breen is a microcosm of the veterans who suffered under the bureaucratic abuse of the VA. The VA Inspector General's report concluded that as many as 307,000 veterans may have died as a result of the system, and that it took 160 days on average to be approved for healthcare. An appeal claim could take as long as four years to process.
Despite changes in leadership at the VA, the problem has only gotten worse. Only three VA employees were fired, wait times have increased by 50 percent, bonuses paid to VA personnel have actually increased and almost 900,000 veterans are still waiting to have their claims processed.
As the VA IG report says, the problems in the VA are "systemic." It is not due to a lack of funding in the VA, as the budget for the VA almost tripled between 2000-2012. The system needs to be changed.
The reason why Clinton is covering for the VA is because the VA is a perfect example as to why a single-payer healthcare system cannot work. What has happened at the VA has occurred in other single-payer healthcare systems. In a nationalized market, there is no profit motive. Without a profit motive, there is less incentive for people to enter the industry, but because it's "free," there will be a sharp increase in demand. When there is a lack of supply coupled with an influx of demand, resources have to be rationed. But Clinton and the left will never admit to that, because single-payer healthcare is the Holy Grail of progressivism. When the government controls healthcare, an individual's lifestyle choices suddenly become every else's business, which opens the door for government control, as writer and film director Bill Whittle explains in this video:
Is it any wonder then that the vast majority of veterans support privatizing the VA to increase the number of options they have to receive healthcare? Yet according to Clinton, it's just Republicans who want the VA privatized.
As Guy Benson at Townhall wrote, "She is wholly incapable of fixing a problem that she willfully refuses to even acknowledge; the result is crippling denial, coupled with partisan point-scoring. Her callousness and cluelessness demonstrated in the clip above present an opportunity for conservatives to build both a political case against her as a candidate, and an ideological case against sprawling, unaccountable Statism."