Veterans deserve better than VA

Keywords: Durango Herald,

I am a disabled Vietnam veteran who has dealt with the VA for 45 years since my medical discharge in June 1968 and it has always been adversarial and unpleasant. In my case, coping with the VA has mainly been accomplished by avoiding it. In my working career I was fortunate to have good insurance from my employer and in retirement, I found that Medicare and a good supplemental is much better than dealing with the VA.

The recent disclosure that more than 40 veterans have died at the Phoenix VA hospital because some VA bureaucrat needed phony numbers to qualify for a bonus convinces me that the VA hospital system needs to be done away with and replaced with a good individual insurance policy for all veterans. For more than four decades, Congress has thrown money at the VA and the service gets worse. Now it appears that they have decided to kill veterans to reduce the work load. It reminds me of the decades the VA insisted that being sprayed with Agent Orange was not harmful. The saying, “I’m from the government here to help you,” takes on a more sinister meaning.

The VA system is in reality a large federal jobs program full of incompetence and drones. Their budget now is more than $100 billion and service is worse. Congress will hold hearings about the latest VA outrage and after that do nothing. If you like good Kabuki theater try watching congressional hearings on C-SPAN. It would be nice if some VA employees in Phoenix were fired or, even better, prosecuted. But, no government employees ever pays any price for criminality and a few months from now another VA facility will probably cause more deaths. So much for the statement that our veterans deserve better. It is just more noise.

William H. Taylor

Dolores