By Jon Dougherty
Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has made headline after headline during her brief congressional career sticking her foot in her wide-open mouth, claimed that the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration was problem-free, wonderful, not broken and, therefore, not in need of “fixing.”
Nine-in-ten vets in a new survey disagree with that assessment.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she said at a town hall two weeks ago. “The idea that this thing that isn’t broken, this thing that provides the highest quality care to our veterans somehow needs to be fixed, optimized, tinkered with until you don’t even recognize it anymore.”
Then she doubled down, again saying reform wasn’t needed and saying it was a “myth” that veterans have problems with the current system.
But, as the Washington Free Beacon reports, the little miss Democratic socialist from New York is once again suffering from foot-in-mouth disease:
An overwhelming majority of veterans disagree with Ocasio-Cortez, according to a new poll from Concerned Veterans for America that found 90 percent of veterans support having the choice to use their VA healthcare benefits outside of the existing system.
When veterans were notified in the poll that choosing to go outside the VA system for care could lead to additional out of pocket costs, support remained at 79 percent.
Both veterans who identify as Republicans (93 percent) and Democrats (88 percent) support increased choice. Ninety-two percent of senior citizen veterans also support the option.
“The congresswoman is off base with her assessment,” Anderson told the Washington Free Beacon. “Just because some veterans in the VA system are getting good care, doesn’t mean all are. And for those who are not, they deserve more choice so they can get the care they need.
“One-size-fits-all bureaucratic policies don’t work for a group as diverse and unique as our veterans population,” he added. “Reforming the VA isn’t privatization, it’s simply making the VA one choice for veterans, not the only choice.”
For the record, the survey of 800 vets was taken in April, before little miss shot her mouth off about the VA.
Mind you, several VA hospitals were found in 2013 and 2014 to have falsified appointment books in order to make it appear as though they were complying with a directive that all vets get appointments within 14 days. In reality, the lists were so long some vets died while waiting for their appointments.
Then, “some 1,700 veterans were waiting an average of 115 days for a doctor’s appointment at the Phoenix VA hospital, and 40 veterans died while doing so,” wrote Steve Cohen, an attorney at Pollock Cohen LLP in New York and a former member of the board of directors of the United States Naval Institute.
“Sadly, the situation was not limited to the Phoenix facility: there was gross mismanagement of a gastroenterology program in South Carolina, and a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Pittsburgh that killed six vets,” he added.
Yes, this VA system.
Now, is the entire VA garbage? No; to be fair, as a vet I have been to local VA facilities have a) have not had to wait an inordinate amount of time to get in; and b) have been treated well for little money. But clearly where there are problems, only Democrats stand in the way of getting them fixed.
The VA is a government system. Government systems are rife with inefficiencies, bureaucratic red tape, and are extremely slow to change. The private sector, when government does not hinder it, is much more responsible, innovative, and efficient.
That’s the way to ‘fix’ the VA, not by pretending that it’s flawless because it’s government-run.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10