By Tom Quiner
Let’s be fair to the president. The problem with healthcare at the Veteran’s Administration preceded President Obama.
The Bush administration tried to do something about it by increasing funding. Funding was increased even more under the Obama administration.
In all, spending has increased 106% since 2003. Caseloads have only increased 30% in the same time period. So we don’t have a money problem as much as a structural problem.
What bothers me about this president is the need for spin, the need to focus on PR at the expense of leadership.
Government-run healthcare always leads to rationing. That’s why veterans died. They had to wait until their number came up in the rationing queue. Some couldn’t wait long enough. They died.
This scandal gives a glimpse at what awaits us with Obamacare over the years ahead as rationing, or ‘death panels’ as Sarah Palin called them, is imposed.
What’s the solution? Obama calls for more money, of course. The party of government always, always, always demands more money to fix problems caused by bloated government. Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says Obama has let the bureaucracy slide into a “slobocracy.”
What a perfect term.
Their instincts are all wrong, suggests Noonan:
“The president and his staff don’t seem to know that by the time things start bubbling up from the agencies and reach the Oval Office the scandal has already happened, even if it’s not in the press yet, and the answer isn’t to prepare proactive spin but to clean up the mess, end the scandal, fire people—a lot of people—establish accountability, change bad practices, and make the agency work again.”
In other words, they need to start managing, like a Mitt Romney would do.
In February, the new VA Secretary, Robert MacDonald, claimed the agency fired 60 people for lying about the bad service they were giving our vets.
Then the agency back pedaled and said it was only fourteen.
Now that documents are available, it looks like there were only three fired.
I like Peggy Noonan’s idea. We need someone who knows how to clean up messes. Mr. Romney has demonstrated a real genius for turning around fledgling businesses and organizations, like the Winter Olympics. He is a topflight CEO.
If the president would like to score some political points, he should reach across the aisle and appoint Mitt Romney to head the VA.
Noonan points out how embarrassing the Obama approach has been:
“Making sure that things work doesn’t seem to be his conception of his job. Words are his job. He argues for a bill, the bill becomes a program, and someone else will make it work. He talks about health care for three years, it debuts with a terrible crash, and he’s shocked. Why didn’t it work? He told it to! His background was one of some privation, but as an executive he acts like a man who grew up with 10 maids. Let them do it, I’m too busy thinking.”
It’s time to move beyond musing. It’s time for action.
It’s time for President Obama to humble himself and ask Mitt Romney for help. The VA needs a man of action, not a man of words.