Memorial Day Weekend Open Thread

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86 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    The VA (single payor) Scandal

    Senate hopefuls Michelle Nunn (D-GA) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) refuse to say whether or not they would have voted for Obamacare, but evidently they aren’t straddling the party line on another brewing issue: the VA scandal. To wit, both candidates have now called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to tender his resignation.

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/danieldoherty/2014/05/23/two-dem-senate-candidates-shinseki-needs-to-go-n1842567

    Always leading from behind, ineffective Senator Mark Udall still has not figured out which way the political wind is blowing, or Tom Steyer has not made up his mind for him yet.

    • Curmudgeon says:

      The GOP doesn't give a shit about the military or veterans, except as cannon fodder or talking points in their latest "OMG OMBAMA SCANDAL!".  They send people to die in the desert based on lies, and blatantly deny funding for them when they manage to return home alive.  A live veteran is worthless to the GOP except as a talking point. 

    • Tom says:

      The VA has been an underfunded bureaucratic mess for over a decade and the influx of new veterans has made the problems that much more acute. I doubt that Shinsecki is at the heart of what is an ongoing issue, though there is an outside chance that a new Secretary might be able to make a difference with the tools and budget available. My understanding is that a combination of funding shortfalls and stupid technology decisions are causing most of the backlogs, so calling for Shinsecki's resignation is pretty much just political posturing that is unlikely to solve anything.

      BTW the VA has nothing to do with either Obamacare or single payer healthcare since the VA medical system is wholly socialized medicine with government run facilities staffed by government doctors. Oddly, the scandal seems to be largely about people wanting to access this socialized system and being denied or delayed, not disatisfaction with the actual care. Funny how that is.

      • ct says:

        Its almost like the GOP operatives gleefully dancing on the graves of the Vets their last guy sent off to a war based on lies are full of shit.

      • davebarnesdavebarnes says:

        "The VA has been an underfunded bureaucratic mess for over a decade"
        Wrong!
        For over 5 decades, at least.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        +100, Tom. Nailed it….

      • JBJK16 says:

        ding, ding, ding!

        We have a winner.

        The problem at the VA is and has been that the funding to efficiently and more quickly determine eligiblity has always been too low.  The problem is not the quality of care, nor that no one wants to access a gov't run healthcare system.

        People in general accpt the misperception that any vet has access to the VA and that any care or services provided are free.

        First, there is no "free" anything at the VA, even if sometimes there is no out of pocket expense.

        The eligibility rules are complex.  Start here: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

        Then get a lawyer, or a at least an experienced advocate. Maybe both.  

        Then look at the long con and, as usuall, follow the money.

        Recall too – until just a few years ago it was illegal to sell disability insurance to active military. The thinking being that the USA self-insures for the insurable loss by way of the Dept of Veterans Affairs, aka the Vee-A.

        Here's one for Rep Coffman – if a veteran is a non-citizen, can he or she access the VA for health care? 

         

        Thank you to all American veterans no matter whether  you were required to serve or volunteered to do.  

        I live in south suburban Denver, but somehow that puts in me in CD4 and so my candidates can say whatherthehell they want about supporting vets and building the VA facilitites at Fitzsimmons.  But if our neighbors in CD6 would make the incumbent's lack of support an issue, it would help.

        • SSG_Dan says:

          Quite briefly, NO. To pretty much the whole reply. 

          Almost all Veterans are not eligible to enroll for VA health care. For the most part, anyone with an Honorable or General discharge can try and enroll. If their income is so low that they'd qualify for Medicaid, they qualify as as  Priority Group 8 Veteran. 

          Second, Service-connect care is "Free." Also, if you're an OIF, OEF  or OND Veteran, ALL care is free for 5 years. Lastly, depending on the level of your service-connected disability, your copay is waived.

          Third, you don't need a lawyer or a vet advocate (or both) to enroll. The Veteran Service Organizations or County Vet Service officers are happy to help, but if you walk into a VA medical center (or larger clinic like Golden or CoSprings) anyone can get a Vet enrolled in about 20 minutes.  

          Lastly, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the US. It's grown by over 1 MILLION Veterans since 2004. Denver VA's area is the 3rd fastest growing area in the VA with recent conflict mess. It has problems, but if someone would actually examine the facts, saying it's a bureacratic mess is pretty uninformed. 

          And, oh, by the way, I support my boss. No one else could've made all the changes so far in the VA, and until the Republican't Party comes up with a replacement who can take over, they can kiss my disabled-Veteran Ass. 

          • SSG_Dan says:

            "Almost all Veterans ARE eligible to enroll for VA Care." I still wish we could edit our replies. 

             

            • Curmudgeon says:

              +100, Dan. I'm a Veteran (peacetime, no SCD), and JBJK16's trolling is way off the mark.  But it shows how little those who are soooo concerned about Veterans really know (or care) about what goes on, beyond the posturing and the yellow ribbons. 

            • JBJK16 says:

              Agreee- almost all and eligible.

              but it's not easy. At least it wasnt when I enrolled. Orwhen I helped my great uncle apply. Or when I tried to help my cousins. 

               

          • JBJK16 says:

            SSg Dan. Sorry to offend and no intention to discourage any vet, ever, from seeking care.

            first- Service connected is not free.  It was paid for by service.  Even when there Is no copayment, it's not free. It' was earned.

            second- twenty minutes?

            Then what happened in Phoenix?

            http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/21/us/va-phoenix-whistle-blower/

             

            People that are 100% service-connected that are polytrauma were waiting anywhere from six to 10 months to get into a new appointment when I found out about 'em," she said.

            http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/21/us/va-phoenix-whistle-blower/

            • SSG_Dan says:

              "Service connected is not free.  It was paid for by service.  Even when there Is no copayment, it's not free. It' was earned."

              Yes, thanks for that statement. As a 20% SC Vet who's had 3 major reconstructive surgeries on my feet at VA Facilities, I am aware of that statement.

              To the inattentive layman, I suppose that linked story makes sense. To someone who actually has some knowledge of the VA, it's complete frogwash. 

              Enrolling for VA health care (checking eligibility, getting an ID Card, getting a provider.) is pretty fast. Once you're determined eligible, you can start getting care that day. (The ID card does take a while.)

              What the good Dr is describing is the OIF/OEF/OND intake process, which was her job at Phoenix VA. Here's a link to the clinic – http://www.phoenix.va.gov/services/returning/index.asp
              if you will review the services offered, it was clearly in her area of responsibility to coordinate care for Polytrauma Vets. 

              If she's admitting she couldn't properly schedule her Veterans in her clinic (which it seems to be) then maybe she deserved to be fired. 

              Interesting that CNN, who "broke the story" never reports she's currently suing the VA for being fired for non-performance.Or that Dr Mitchell's claim that records were being destroyed ended up being false. Or that there's never been 40 Veterans who died waiting for care.

              Shirley Sherrod, anyone?
               

              • CaninesCanines says:

                I had actually wondered what your take would be on the story. Glad you're back to offer commentary. (And hopefully, an occasional Friday Jams contribution.)

                Nice running into you late last year, talking briefly about your work, having recalled you from a Pols meet-up at the Falling Rock.

    • SSG_Dan says:

      First off, let's focus on the nonsensical headline that starts this thread. "VA Scandal" 

      Without resorting to the simpleton rantings of Hannity and Rush, can you even explain what the current issue is about? I doubt it – you'd have to be one of the Approx 9 million Veterans enrolled in the VA for health care. (approx 180K in Eastern Colorado, 80K actively using the 13 facilities operated in their area.) 

      But allow me - 
      1) The Phoenix VA "Scandal" is the supposed existence of a Secret Wait List, maintained on paper that somehow hides the true length of time a Veteran waits to be seen by a Primary Care Provider (PCP) Specialist, or Specialty clinic. Dr Whistleblower (fired for taking every Friday off from the clinic was in charge of) alleges that the Phoenix VA, a huge facility that has about 3K appointments/procedures a day, used one single paper wait list to manage ALL of these appointments AND THEN doctored the electronic scheduling software (on every single appointment) to make it appear that they were making the VA's standard for wait times. 

      Because of all this, (according to Dr Whistleblower and CNN), 40 Veterans died waiting for care. 

      PROBLEMS WITH THIS – What Dr Whistleblower is referring to is the Electronic Wait List (EWL). When a VA facility can't schedule a Vet within 90 days, they must put him on this list. When openings become available because of cancellations or rescheduling, the EWL automatically puts them in those appointments, or reminds the scheduler for that clinc to make an appointment when they get within 90 days.

      Dr. Whistleblower probably calls this list secret because as a PCP, he can't see the list in VistA (the VA's electronic medical records) – only schedulers can see it.  It was implemented in 2012 at Phoenix, which is when he says the secret list started. 

      OTHER PROBLEM – Rep Jeff Miller started hooting and shrieking this number to the media the moment he got it, and now every outlet in the world takes it as gospel. Except that when the VA's Inpsector General finally got names to check, it had mysteriously evaporated down to 17. The first thing he did was check those numbers, and as he testified to Congress, none of those Veterans died as a result of the wait. 

      FINAL COMMENT – If VA health care is so horrible, why are so many Veterans trying to enroll? Get appointments? 

  2. Andrew Carnegie says:

    New Dem bumper sticker for 2014:

    like-albatross

    • ct says:

      Hey Troll. This:

      The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans and the Paralyzed Veterans of America hit back hard.

      “For years, the V.F.W. has come to Congress with hat in hand, and for years we’ve heard the same old story,” the heads of the veterans groups wrote to Mr. Burr. “You can be assured, Senator, that you’ve done a superb job showing us the error in our ways. You can also be assured that in the future, we will spend a substantial percentage of our time seeking to inform our members and our constituents of the repeated failure to act by our elected officials.”

      To that sentiment, the national president and the executive director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America added, “Perhaps you should have shared with all veterans in your ‘open’ letter that you cared so much about their health care that you were not actually present during the testimony that the V.S.O. representatives provided, and you did not ask a single question.” V.S.O. stands for veterans service organizations.

      “Regrettably, Senator Burr shows no interest in pursuing policy solutions, preferring instead to launch cheap political attacks on the integrity of leaders of veterans organizations that do not agree with him,” wrote Joseph W. Johnston, the national commander of the Disabled American Veterans.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/27/us/veterans-groups-lash-out-at-republican-senator.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

  3. ct says:

    ^^^^P.O.S. disgusting, self-lathing troll… The A Scandal is unconscionable, it was first identified under Bush, Republicans played politics with funding, and …Gee, why are there so many wounded vets.

    But your absolute delight in dying vterans, on this weekend, shows that you are the lowest of the lowest kind of turd.  Seriously dude.  Its sad.  Sad for you, and really really really shameful.  Disgusting.  I need to take another shwer.  What a worthless creature you are. <<< 100% fact.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      I couldn't agree more, ct.  This trolls' soul is lower than whale shit… what a useless excuse for a human being.

      • Ralphie says:

        Only a dismal excuse for a human being would try to make a political point about dead soldiers on Memorial Day.  Go to hell, you despicable little weasel.

        • Curmudgeon says:

          But that's what the military is to people like AC. They use them to make themselves feel like badasses, to enrich their cronies, and a political tool when they're dead. They don't actually care about the ones who are lucky enough to come back home alive. 

        • Curmudgeon says:

          You know, I'd love to be angry at AC, especially today, and with the way the GOP uses Vets, but it's just pathetic.  These cretins have been foaming at the mouth since 2008, and they're getting more rabid every day passes that shows them they'll never be able to un-elect Obama.   It's done.  They can never make it not have happened. They couldn't even buy the second election. He'll be in the books, and something will have changed forever.    Pathetic old white men and the rich old white men they worship are scared shitless, because while they still have power, it's not absolute anymore,and it's waning. And that scares them the most.

          The great unwashed masses now have access to Information, and that is their undoing. 

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Meanwhile, in Iraq, the civilian deaths plummetted under Obama.  What a useless tool you are.  Didn't your bosses promise that war was going to pay for itself?  It seems to have worked out well for Haliburton and China – for the rest of us, "not so much"

         

         

  4. exlurker19 says:

    Gunzzz, we need mohr gunzzz!!!!

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/7-dead-in-drive-by-shooting-near-uc-santa-barbara

    Still no need for stinkin' gun laws.

  5. DavieDavie says:

    And in AC's black is white, up is down world, I'm certain he takes this as a high compliment.

    • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

      At least, and it's more than we'll ever be able to say for our troll AC, his namesake decided to devote a large share of his personal fortune to  free public libraries.

  6. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    BTW…

    Does anyone besides me miss MADCO?

    I hope all is well with the Mad Cow.

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Thanks for sharing Dwyer.  I don't think Aquilla has grasped "the message" yet; I can tell you, with certainty, the message hasn't yet penetrated the rectory in Wray (say that three times, fast) -  but hope springs eternal smiley

  7. DavieDavie says:

    Here's a thoughtful article about what ails our government.  There's a lot to like regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-broke-washington/2014/05/23/57e67ba2-e033-11e3-810f-764fe508b82d_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opnsat

    Human responsibility should be restored as the operating philosophy for democracy. Only real people, not bureaucratic rules, can make adjustments to balance a budget, or be fair, or change priorities. Democracy cannot function unless identifiable people can make public choices and be accountable for the results.

    In concept, restoring responsibility is not difficult. Every law with budgetary impact should sunset, so that lawmakers must reset priorities and adapt to new circumstances. Most laws should be radically simplified into an open structure of goals and principles, leaving flexibility for officials to get the job done.

  8. BlueCat says:

    Good to see most of us are taking time off from feeding the troll. In honor of Memorial Day may I suggest (just a suggestion, I know we're all free to do whatever we damn please) a troll feeding moratorium? Have a good Memorial Day weekend everyone. Hug a vet. Mine gets more than hugs.

  9. ct says:

    Read Share Club Twitty's latest…

    because Cory Gardner is too extreme for Colorado.  

    - See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/58409/rep-cory-gardner-is-anti-science#sthash.HHKVVx5H.dpuf

    ^^Meant to post this here in the open thread…

  10. SSG_Dan says:

    I'M……BAAACK! Thanks to a recent change in the Hatch Act, and a very specific ruling from the Office Regional Council. I am here to put my foot back up Libertad's ass. 

    So…have I missed anything? 

  11. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Tapia Town Hall on Veteran's Issues

     

    Abel J Tapia for Congress, Colorado 3rd District, US HOR

    9 hrs · 

    I hope you are all having a very Happy Memorial Day! In honor of our veterans and fallen heroes this week on Wednesday at 5:30pm, I will be hosting a Tele-Town Hall on Veteran's issues in Colorado's 3d Congressional district. To get the number to call in and participate with us please sign up here:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XDbJpOakVJ9ntLNFTZXtxoKW81Bi9VPrSwxf2goYE2Y/viewform?usp=send_form

     

     

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Cool>

      Here is some food for thought:

      It’s been a month since we learned up to 40 of more than 1,400 veterans on a secret waiting list at the VA hospital in Phoenix may have died while waiting up to a year for treatment.

      Since CNN broadcast the story April 23, doctored records and preventable deaths have been reported at 25 other VA facilities.

      It wasn’t until Wednesday that President Barack Obama spoke in public about the scandal.

      He’d learned of it from news reports, said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. That’s also how the president learned the Obamacare website was a mess, the IRS was targeting conservative groups and security at the Benghazi consulate was lax, aides said.

      Evidently no one who works for Mr. Obama ever tells him anything.

      Of the VA scandal, Mr. Obama said, “I will not stand for it. There must be consequences.”

      But he took no steps either to alleviate the suffering of veterans or to punish those who’ve neglected them. The man in charge of the VA while all this was going on is “a fine public servant,” the president said.

      Mr. Obama’s praise for the secretary of Veterans Affairs gobsmacked Georgia Rep. David Scott, who said Eric Shinseki should be fired.

      “Under his watch at my own hospital in Atlanta, four of our soldiers committed suicide, and the inspector general of the VA laid the blame directly at the foot of the VA administration,” Rep. Scott stormed in a fiery speech on the House floor.

      Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/25/obamas_vapid_response_to_the_va_scandal_122746.html#ixzz32pZ1OkCa 
      Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

      BTW, anticipating the Polsters knee-jerk reactions that anyone who disagrees with them and Dear Leader Obama is a Racist and Republican, Scott is Black and a Dem.

  12. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Mesa County mudslide:

    KKTV 11 News

    58 minutes ago

    BREAKING: There is a massive mudslide in Collbran, about 50 miles outside of Grand Junction. The Mesa County Sheriff says three people are missing. The mudslide is estimated to be about 4 miles long, 2 miles wide and about 250 feet deep. Rain has fallen most of the day and the sheriff's office says that "likely contributed to the cause of the slide".

    I hope that you and yours are safe. 

  13. yameniyeyameniye says:

    SSG Dan, good to see you return.

    This is the day set aside to remember those who fought and died for America.  Although POW/MIA Day is in September, I know that my family member who did not return from WWI and WWII will never return.  They died for our country too.

    General George Washington could not get the congresses of our country to pay for active duty troops and for those who died for our founding.  Since then the Congress has been parsimonious at best when funding and supporting veterans education and medical care.

    I tell people that they do not want to do what I did to get the "free" health care.  When you are VA rated at 50% and higher service connected disabled your care becomes "free".  The backlog of cases was for initial and re-ratings. 

    Just a few years ago Nickleson was talking about closing hospitals and clinics because there would be fewer veterans needing care.  That was based on a lot of WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans dying.  It was propaganda about how few causalities would arrive from OIF/OEF/OND.  Fools, lying fools and idiots.

    VA health care for the most part is very good.  The medical centers provide more than wait for a doctor and leave.  For those of us who spend a lot of time at the med center we develop friends with other vets and the staff.  It is much different than a private hospital or clinic such as KP.  We also have care providers who talk in terms we understand.  And, they are places where wheelchairs are common for those in their 20's on. 

    The PTS care is cutting edge and tailored for the military experience.  Private practice shrinks get the wrong idea when you start talking about your problems with, "it started in basic when I learned how to kill."

    Talk time to visit a cemetery today and thank a veteran for giving all.

  14. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Veterans, thanks for your service!

    Watching Fox news this morning (I was trying for local news about the Mesa County mudslide – see Twitter #MCmudslide for updates) 

    So right wing pundits are pushing privatization of the VA. I get it now.  The push to defund Obamacare has failed – so now  the agenda has shifted to : let's get rid of the best functioning, largest public health system in the US. Fire Shinsecki, if Eric  Holder won't investigate, fire him, too.

    But from my own experience as family of a disabled veteran, the problems I see with the VA stem from outsourcing and privatization; the VA doesn't have a good tech / IT system, and has inadequate facilities to meet demand, so they outsource to private hospitals. But the private hospitals don't have access to vet's own doctors and records (no shared IT/ records)  that they've had for years, so they just put vets in beds, dink around, and bill the VA. 

    Veterans, thanking you for your service is not enough! Fix the VA, don't break it. 

  15. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    JeffCo "Recipe for Success": More tanks, fewer teachers?

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