RUSH: The VA scandal is growing. It is not abating. Bonuses went to the worst hospitals. One of the points I made last night on the show with Greta, she asked me about the VA. I said (paraphrasing), "Do you remember when Obama was out sliming the doctors, surgeons specifically, accusing them of doing unnecessary surgeries just to pocket big bucks? Unnecessary amputations, unnecessary appendectomies, this kind of thing? And he was pointing out how we need the federal government to get in charge of this stuff to prevent poor, unsuspecting patients from being ripped off."
It was a total assault on everybody in the medical community, all surgeons. And it wasn't true. But what is true? Obama's own VA featured a bunch of bureaucrats massaging and maneuvering waiting lists while patients died, in order to get their bonuses. So, once again, what Obama accuses the private sector of encouraging and condoning, his own Regime is practicing. Investors.com has the details.
"Freedom of Information Act requests by Illinois-based watchdog group Open the Books reveal that the VA spent millions on bonuses during the last three years at the Edward Hines VA Hospital in Cook County, Ill. ... Eric Shinseki tried to bring closure to the scandal by firing the VA undersecretary of health, Dr. Robert Petzel," who had already announced his retirement. Earlier this month Obama had already announced his replacement. They didn't fire anybody. That's more smoke and mirrors.
They were gonna fill the position with Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, the director of VA's Great Lakes Health Care System in Winchester, Ill. Since 2009, he had oversight responsibility of the Edward Hines VA Hospital in Cook County, Ill. And that is the hospital where the Freedom of Information Act requests by Open the Books discovered the VA had spent millions on bonuses during the last three years. "Worse, in 2013, only about one-in-four of Hines' 4,230 employees were those providing the actual primary care: doctors (309) or nurses (about 800), Open the Books found."
That's exactly what happens in the public school system. You've got X-number of teachers, and all the money goes to liberal compatriots and union people in the administrative levels of education, which never once see the classroom. Exactly what's going on at the VA hospital. Top-heavy with administrators that don't do anything but collect a check, 4,230 employees at Edward Hines VA hospital, and only 25% of 'em were those providing actual care. And they got bonuses.
RUSH: AP just posted a breaking news story: "Veterans at the Phoenix veterans hospital," one of the original whistleblower locations, "waited on average 115 days for their first medical appointment..." From the Washington Times: "'We identified an additional 1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the [electronic wait list,]' the report from the VA inspector general said.
"'Most importantly, these veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix [health care system's] convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment.'" Now, I need to stress, none of this, none of these horror stories is due to lack-of-funding. The amount of money that has been allocated for the VA has skyrocketed in the last few years.
For example, the budget is more than double what it was in 2005. It's $152.7 billion today, compared to $70.9 billion back in 2005. Now, how does the left deal with this? Like everything else! They blame George W. Bush. Pelosi's out there saying (summarized), "Well, you know, we fought two wars that were unnecessary. We didn't have to fight these two wars!
"We sent these brave soldiers out, and they've become maimed and injured and disfigured and wounded and harmed, and if it weren't for Bush, we wouldn't have these pressures," and so forth and so on. So it's all Bush's fault, unnecessary wars. It can't possibly be the incompetence of the bureaucracy trying to handle this.
Look, I may as well. Let's see. Let's see. Yeah, grab sound bites one and two, 'cause I talked about the VA scandal last night with Greta Van Susteren on her program. Yeah, we'll go up through number three here, and here is the first bite. She said, "Let me ask you about this scandal in Washington -- actually, it's around the nation -- with the VA health care system. How does this happen?"
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RUSH ARCHIVE: Well, I think there have been problems in the VA that you could probably chronicle since the beginning of the VA, and the overriding problem is that this is something government just can't do. Despite the best intentions, despite the best efforts, it's something that a bureaucracy just can't handle. And I think the ultimate solution to this is going to be farming out part of it, or maybe all of it, to the private sector. And the VA, I think the depth of this scandal, or the lesson of this scandal is just that: If you want to know where we're headed as a country with health care, take a look at the VA because this is the course that's been charted if we don't change it.
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RUSH: And that really ticks 'em off on the Democrat Party side. Oh, man, that ticks 'em off on the left, when you say that this is a microcosm of Obamacare. 'Cause they say, "Well, wait a minute, now. Obamacare is not gonna own any hospitals! Obamacare is not gonna own any doctors! They're two separate things. You can't even compare." Yes, you can. There's so much commonality here, and what's common is the incompetence.
It's really more than incompetence, as I address in the next two sound bites. So Greta said, "What disturbs me in particular about this is that apparently people have known about this for so long and looked the other way. And I know President Obama ran on it in 2008, and I heard him when he ran on it in 2008. But I didn't realize the extent of it, and that everyone just looked the other way and let these people suffer. That's what I don't understand."
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RUSH ARCHIVE: Well, do you remember back in the early days when the president was selling Obamacare? One of the things that he accused the doctors of doing was unnecessary surgeries to line their pockets. He talked about doctors doing unnecessary amputations, unnecessary tonsillectomies because they could earn a lot of money. He really, really insulted them, and really blasphemed them as an industry and said, "We've gotta get a hold of that, get a handle on it."
Look at what's happened here. That's the exact thing that happened. We had bureaucrats working at the VA who massaged waiting lists and ran people through waiting lists who had not been treated, all so that they could receive a bonus. And so exactly what Obama accused doctors/surgeons of doing back in the early days when he was trying to sell Obamacare, actually happened here.
I had a caller about this today who asked the very same question: Why now? And I think the sad reality is that what you said is pretty much true: The VA has always been problematic. But in so being, we established a baseline of acceptance, "The VA is X. It's just what it is." Why now? 'Cause it's gotten so much worse all of a sudden, it's gone so far below the baseline, that it is outraging people.
These kinds of things, they can be ultimately useful if they're learned from and if the right lesson is taken from it. And again, I think the lesson here is that this is just something better left to the private sector. Despite all the good intentions in the world among maybe the president, bureaucracies or what have you, they're just not equipped to do this kind of thing well. This is not what bureaucracies should be tackling, be it for a select group like veterans or the nation at large.
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RUSH: So next up (this, I think, is Snerdley's favorite sound bite) Greta Van Susteren said, "[S]omebody knew that somebody else was cooking the books. So somebody at that level knew it, didn't say a thing. It's General Shinseki's obligation to know what's going on and then to report to the president so the president can make some decisions. I don't even get the sense that anyone was even talking about this horrible calamity that's going on so that we could even fix it."
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RUSH ARCHIVE: Okay. So why do you think that is? Why wasn't Shinseki reporting to the president? Why weren't other people maybe reporting to Shinseki? What is your theory?
GRETA: 'Cause they're not doing their jobs, and I think they should be fired.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Okay, but why weren't they doing their jobs?
GRETA: You know what? I... You know, I would do my job.
RUSH ARCHIVE: (laughing)
GRETA: I don't know for the life of me, 'cause I know General Shinseki.
RUSH ARCHIVE: (laughing)
GRETA: I know General Shinseki cares about the military, and he was a great military officer.
RUSH ARCHIVE: It's too --
GRETA: But, you know, I don't see him doing a good job as secretary of the VA.
RUSH ARCHIVE: What qualifies him? Okay, so he's chief of staff of the Army. The reason he's in the job is because John Kerry loved to cite Shinseki, who was the first uniformed Army personnel to stand up and criticize George W. Bush after all these Democrats had voted to go into Iraq and authorize the use of force.
Shinseki stood up and said, "It's gonna take hundreds of thousands of troops, and we don't have a chance," and the Democrats loved that. So they put him in this job -- maybe as thanks, maybe as payback -- but where were the qualifications? At some point you have to ask, "Where is the real concern?" You yourself said this has been going on for a long, long time and people knew it and didn't say anything about it.
Is it that they don't care? Is it that they put their survival first? Who knows what it is. But the bottom line is, you can ask "why" all day. If you have the courage to come up with the truth when you ask "why," the answer is: They're not qualified. They're not qualified to run Obamacare; they're not qualified to run energy; they're not qualified to run the economy; they don't have anybody that knows what they're doing in anything, Greta. Everything here is smoke and mirrors.
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RUSH: That pretty much sums it up. What is Obama really qualified to do? He won the election, so, yeah. He's got the office. What is he qualified for? What's he really qualified to do? We've never even seen his college transcripts. So he's a lawyer. We know that when he went to the private sector he hated it. He considered himself a spy in enemy territory. By his own hand he wrote that.
Shinseki? Okay, so he's chief of staff of the Army, and you heard Greta say, "I know he cares. I know he cares about the military." Well, a lot of people care about a lot of things that they can't do. But, see, I made mention of something. They edited some of this, and one of the points that I made here is, "See, Greta, we're not supposed to analyze the results. That's the mistake you're making.
"We're supposed to stop at saying 'they care,' period. 'They're good people. They care.' Well, what good is that if they're not qualified to do what they're doing? And by any measure, there's nobody in charge of the VA that has the slightest idea how to work this right," and again: It isn't a funding problem. The budget has doubled from what it was back in 2005. Okay. So that's that.