VA Disgrace: This Photo Tells the Story
Policy + Politics

VA Disgrace: This Photo Tells the Story

REUTERS/Government Handout

The photo, from 2012, shows a pileup of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Roanoke, Virginia. In the second year of Obama's presidency, many folders stuffed with claims had piled up. The files were moved, but the national pileup of disability compensation claims has continued. The backlog of claims languishing in the VA system has now increased to more than 630,000, and heads are about to roll--especially Secretary Eric Shinseki's. 

Not only has the VA never computerized its files (the IRS began that effort 25 years ago), it allowed the backlog to increase without a plan to attend to the inevitable increase in vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. The result--delayed care at a VA facility in Phoenix led to at least 40 deaths.

Shinseki may be taking a well-deserved bullet for an agency that once again displays a lack of competence, a serious failure of management, and little or no oversight, giving proponents of smaller government yet another reason to claim that our system has become too big to succeed.

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