Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

FIXING THE VA HEALTH CARE

VA PHOTO

Why is it that no matter how much national media attention problems at the Veterans Administration receive, serious problems affecting the care of millions of veteran’s health care persist?

Most recently, while long delays in wait times for veterans at VA health care facilities continue, problems mount with the Choice Card, intended to allow veterans to seek private medical care if VA is unable to provide it within a month of being requested, or if there is no VA facility near their homes. The program, opposed by senior people at the VA because they believed it undercut their reputation, is under siege because the VA has not paid millions of dollars to doctors. The result is the hounding of veterans who have used the card by bill collectors.

According to investigative reporter Like Rosiak writing in the Daily Caller, citing the Miami Herald, “A survey of non-VA hospitals in Florida, for example, found VA owed more than $100 million in unpaid claims for services provided to veterans under the Choice Card program. Sixty percent of the hospitals described the problems in getting paid as inexplicable, with their claims mysteriously getting lost. A growing number of doctors across the country are refusing to treat patients using the Choice Card for fear of never being paid.”

What will it take to give veterans the health care they deserve?

They way I see it, three problems are at the root of this scandal. First, is the nature of the federal bureaucracy. Firing incompetent or simply lazy federal employees is an enormous challenge. As a former senior executive in the Department of Defense I can tell you that the time and effort it takes to fire these employees is such a disincentive that most supervisors simply transfer the employee or ignore the problem. The result is a level of incompetence exists in the federal government that is not tolerated in private industry.

Even so, the VA has made progress on this front. According to Government Executive magazine, “The VA has fired 400 more employees this year so far than in 2014, according to Secretary Bob McDonald. McDonald said VA has fired 1,500 employees this calendar year compared to 1,100 people last year – a 36 percent increase. The former head of Procter and Gamble added that 2,280 employees have been terminated since his confirmation as VA secretary in July, and that the department has proposed disciplinary action against 300 workers for ‘manipulating scheduling.’” The VA has a workforce of roughly 330,000 employees. The question is, is this enough?

Second, health care, in and of itself, in the United States is fraught with difficulty. Costs are out of control. The demand for health care is on the rise while the number of doctors available is rapidly decreasing. In the case of the VA, 14 years of war has created a large number of physically and mentally disabled veterans. This compounds the increase in the demand for healthcare by a greying American population. Obamacare has only exacerbated this for Americans in general and driven some veterans to the VA system who otherwise may not have needed VA care.

Third is gross mismanagement by the VA leadership. Even after Congress gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the power to fire underperforming senior executives, very few, if any, have been fired. The VA has approximately 400 Senior Executive Service employees, but firing SESs has been difficult. In January and February of 2016, the VA lost three successive personnel decisions under this new authority, leading the VA Secretary to propose shifting the employment jurisdiction governing all VA SESs from Title 5 (Government Organization and Employees) to Title 38 (Veterans Benefits) of the United States Code.

What is the solution? Until all three of these problems are adequately addressed, veteran’s healthcare at the VA will not substantially improve. Perhaps with a new administration more progress is possible. A new National Security Management System introduced by the Bush administration to better rate employees on performance was quickly junked under federal employee union pressure when Obama came to office. Congress and the new president have their work cut out for them.

 

 

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Filed under: Healthcare, , , , , , , , ,

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE AT THE VA

 

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How many veterans that lingered on secret waiting lists at Veterans Affairs hospitals gave their lives so hospital administrators could receive bonuses and promotions? (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

 

Filed under: Healthcare, Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HAVE WE HIT BOTTOM YET?

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During the nearly five and a half years of the Obama presidency, America has been moving in the wrong direction. The U.S. economy continues to struggle through the longest and slowest recovery from recession since World War II. From Benghazi to Ukraine, U.S. foreign policy has collapsed. U.S. world leadership has receded to a low not seen since the 1930s. Have we hit bottom yet?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WINNING THE POLITICAL PROPAGANDA WAR

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If Republicans continue to lose presidential elections it won’t be only because they failed to garner a sufficient percentage of the growing Hispanic, Asian and African-American vote; it will be because they continue to lose the propaganda war.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE 2014 AND 2016 ELECTIONS

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The answers to five questions will determine the outcomes of the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Is the liberal bubble about to burst?

Are red states or blue states on the ascendency?

Will the Tea Party resurge or has it lost its clout?

Will political party allegiance hold?

Finally, who will be the nominees?

(Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

white_house_xmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the White House
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The Stockings were hung from the chimney with prayer
Hoping perhaps Santa could fix Obama Care.

(Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE OBMACARE DEBACLE

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President Obama’s Teflon presidency has been attributable to the mainstream media’s propensity to devote little time to his misstatements and mistakes, the President’s remarkable oratory skills, and his willingness to willfully deceive Americans if it serves the “greater good.” He’s been a superhero-like figure, loved and hated, seemingly immune from slings and arrows of his enemies. All that’s changing, but if Republicans want to exploit this opportunity, they have to do more than throw rocks.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Healthcare, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE TEA PARTY, ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS AND THE AMERICAN LEFT

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The continuing-resolution/debt-limit battle is over, temporarily; but Democrats and establishment Republicans continue to criticize Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for their hard-line stance on defunding Obamacare. Are they the future of the Republican Party or harbingers of a third-party?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OBAMACARE, BENGHAZI, THE IRS, THE NSA AND THE 2014 ELECTIONS

Republicans-vs-Democrats

Intense media coverage of the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting has drawn attention away from four big issues that continue to plague the Obama administration—Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS targeting of conservative organizations and individuals, and NSA spying on the American people. Nevertheless, the collective time bomb is ticking. The question is will it go off during the 2014 election campaigns if it goes off at all.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OBAMACARE: AN AVOIDABLE NATIONAL DISASTER

 

obamacare_killing_ecomony

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) began as poorly crafted legislation that became a train wreck then turned into a national disaster that will take many years to recover from. Here’s what we should have done and still can do. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Healthcare, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WHO DO YOU TRUST ON GUN CONTROL?

 

gun-control

The most often heard argument in the ongoing gun-control debate is whether or not gun control prevents gun crime. Gun-control advocates believe it does. Second Amendment advocates argue that it doesn’t. A more cogent question when it comes to gun-control, however, is who do you trust?  (Read the full column at EWRosss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FIFTY YEARS OF MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE

Fifty years of U.S. Middle East policy is on the verge of collapse. On all sides countries inimical to its interests or hostile to its existence surround Israel. At the same time, the Islamist-fundamentalist movement is gaining influence and power while U.S. leverage in the region plummets. Iran is on the verge of building nuclear weapons as it supplies ever more deadly weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas. It’s not clear what will reverse these trends at this stage, but strong U.S. leadership and action is needed now more than ever.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ROMNEY SHIFTS GEARS AND CHANGES LANES

By selecting Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate Gov. Romney has dramatically shifted gears and changed lanes in his bid for the White House. Gov. Romney has made a bold, some say risky, decision, making this election now about diametrically opposed policy choices rather than a referendum on President Barack Obama’s presidency and who is best equipped to lead the nation.  Which nominee wins depends on how the majority of Americans see themselves. Are we a nation of risk takers, entrepreneurs, and people in control of our own destinies, or have we ceded all that to dependence on government?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OBAMACARE: ONE OF THE BIGGEST POLITICAL MISTAKES IN AMERICAN HISTORY

No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Obamacare this week, the progressive movement’s massive overreach with healthcare reform likely will go down as one of the biggest political mistakes in American history.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Healthcare, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE FREE CONTRACEPTION STALKING HORSE

On Mar 1, in her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made it clear why the Obama administration is pushing free contraception for women and seeks also to curtail religious freedom and force certain Catholic institutions to provide free contraception against their religious doctrine.

She said; “The reduction in a number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception.” To which Tim Murphy (R-PA) responded, “So you’re saying by not having babies born, we’re going to save money on healthcare?”—a remark Ms. Sebelius did not take issue with.

Free contraception, of course, isn’t the only way to prevent the birth of more babies; the next step is free abortions.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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