RUSH: This is Mark in Atlanta. I’m glad you waited, sir. Welcome to our program. Hello.
CALLER: No problem at all, Rush. Thank you. I appreciate you taking my phone call. I’m 45 years old, and me and my three-month-old daughter have been sitting here listening to you, and I have a little different take on this VA thing and I want to kind of pass it by you and get your opinion about it. In my opinion, it seems like a lot of the outrage over this VA situation at the moment is a bit shortsighted and hypocritical.
Because in my 45 years, as long as I’ve been paying attention, no matter whether Democrats are in charge or Republicans are in charge, I’ve always felt like it’s common knowledge that the VA has not been doing a good job of serving our veterans. It doesn’t seem… You know, the fact that it seems like this is all new, to me, just seems like I don’t know what people have not been paying attention to.
‘Cause in my whole life it’s always been like, “Yeah, the VA doesn’t do a good job of taking care of the veterans.” You know, even all the accusations now that Obama knew about this six years ago — which is true enough. You know, the reality is, though, who was a in charge for the prior eight years? So these problems are already bubbling up and evident during the Bush administration. Problems were evident during the Clinton administration and the first Bush administration. I don’t think the issue with this VA thing is a liberal or conservative issue.
RUSH: Okay. Fine. Let’s leave the table set exactly as you have set it. All right? It has been a problem forever, essentially, and you can’t really tag it to one party or one presidency or administration. So what does that tell you?
CALLER: What it tells me, Rush, is that ultimately our government treats our troops like sneakers. They buy them new in shiny boxes, all clean; they wear them out. And then they toss them on the pile when they’re done with them as you would do with an old pair of sneakers. If our government cared about our troops, the VA would not have any issues, and ultimately —
RUSH: Wait a minute.
CALLER: — I know a lot of people worship at the altar of the Pentagon, but ultimately if the VA —
RUSH: Wait a minute. Do you really think that all they need to fix this is if people cared a little bit more?
CALLER: I think if our government cared about these troops and what happened to them after they were in war, yeah. I think the VA would operate a lot better. I don’t think we’d have these problems.
RUSH: How would you show it? How would you demonstrate the government cares? We’re spending over $53 billion a year. I mean, we’re throwing money at it left and right. It’s not that.
CALLER: You and I both know money doesn’t always solve problems. It’s a matter of priorities. It’s a matter of —
RUSH: I’ll tell you what I take away from it, just as you’ve set the table — and I could, if I wanted to, nitpick and I could say, “Well, you might want to lay it at the feet of every regime. But this current one has been promising everybody since 2008 they’re gonna fix it,” because they said exactly what you said: It’s been a mess. In fact, I’ve got here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers… (shuffling papers)
I have the media praising Obama and saying about the VA, “It is the microcosm of success that shows us how Obamacare will work successfully for the country.” You’re not hearing from these people right now, but I’m gonna treat you to what they said about it. Some people said the best way that we could deal with health care for everybody was to follow the exact things we were doing at the VA.
I’m not gonna go there.
I easily could.
I did maybe just a little go there, but going back to the way you set the table. There’s only one conclusion: Government cannot do it! Name a federal agency that does what it’s supposed to do, and even comes close to meeting promises and expectations. Name one that actually serves the public first before it serves itself and the people in it. The way you’ve explained it is a great illustration of how no matter how many people you talk to or how much they say they care and how much money they spend, they just can’t do it.
Government just can’t do this stuff.
Ben Shapiro has a piece today at Truth Revolt. Â“As the fallout from the Veterans Administration cooking of the books and the related deaths of over three dozen veterans continues, President Obama took to the podium on Wednesday to explain that problems at the VA are nothing new. Â… And herein lies the problem for the left: the failures at the VA, including its bureaucratic incompetence, its waiting lists, and its deaths, all debunk the notion that a government-run healthcare system will work. ItÂ’s a fresh slap in the face to all those commentators who, in pushing Obamacare, endorsed the VA as a model. There are some pretty big names on that list. Paul Krugman in 2011 wrote of the VAÂ’s Â‘huge success story.Â’”
Now, folks, listen to me on this. ‘Cause what has been compiled here, all of these leftist commentators praising the VA, recently, last eight to 10 years, so much praise that they held out the VA, they held it up as an example of how Obamacare will be wonderful for this country.
Paul Krugman, 2011, just three years ago: Â“Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurersÂ…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So itÂ’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests.Â”
So here’s a guy, he’s creaming, he’s ripping to shreds the free market, doctors and hospitals, praising the VA. It’s so well run. It’s so efficient. It’s so economical. Treatment’s so good, nobody’s left wanting anything. It’s a great example of how Obamacare will work. And then he added, “Yes, this is Â‘socialized medicineÂ’Â… But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.Â”
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 2009. Â“Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more Â“socialized medicineÂ” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment.Â”
These guys could not be more wrong! They were just acting as PR agents for Obamacare and somebody told ’em, “Hey, why don’t you use the VA,” and they lied to ’em about how well the VA is doing, and it all got started, the VA was great. All the while this is going on, Obama and everybody is running around with the need for reform of the VA, ’cause waiting lists were happening, people were not being treated, patients were dying, all while this stuff was being written.
Just last year, Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton wrote in the pages of the New York Times — notice where all this stuff runs. The New York Times. Â“Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the VA health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans? Or do they just not care about them?Â”
Do you think these people are embarrassed today? Hell, no. They don’t think anybody’s gonna hear about this or remember any of this. They just said what needed to be said at the moment to advance whatever part of the Democrat agenda was in trouble. And they’ll say tomorrow whatever has to be said, whether it’s true or not, to advance the Democrat agenda. It’s the purpose of the media today.
The RAND Corporation: Â“If other health care providers followed the VAÂ’s lead, it would be a major step toward improving the quality of care across the US health care system.Â”
This is embarrassing. I mean, nothing could be further from the truth. And then the wunderkind of the Washington Post, Ezra Klein, Â“who wrote in the Washington Post in 2009 that Â‘expanding the Veterans Health Administration to non-veteransÂ’ was Â‘one of my favorite ideas.Â’Â”
I think all of this is proof of the theory that Obama didn’t want the truth about the VA to come out while they’re trying to sell us on Obamacare. In fact, they got their willing accomplices here in the Drive-By Media spreading these lies about how great the VA’s doing, so they can’t focus on any problems there because that would undercut the effort of Obamacare, which they were using the VA as a model for. The New York Times, Washington Post, you know, little Northeastern liberals gobbling this stuff up and considering it to be gospel, being lied to practically in every paragraph.