Far be it from me to call Jay Carney a liar, but if the prosthetic nose fits…
According to the White House Resident Storyteller, Obama only found out about the VA Scandal when the rest of us did. Except, he didn’t. Obama was told about the VA issues regarding wait times over five years ago.
The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal.
Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.
“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” the officials wrote.
The briefing materials, obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act, make clear that the problems existed well before Mr. Obama took office, dating back at least to the Bush administration. But the materials raise questions about what actions the department took since 2009 to remedy the problems.
In recent months, reports have surfaced about secret wait lists at facilities across the country and, in the case of a Phoenix VA facility, accusations that officials cooked the books to try to hide long wait times. Some families said veterans died while on a secret wait list at the Phoenix facility.
Last week, Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, resigned. His boss, Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, told Congress he will stay despite growing calls for his resignation.
Mr. Shinseki, a disabled veteran, has headed the department since the beginning of Mr. Obama’s first term, when the VA report identified many of the problems.
“Should they have known? Absolutely, they should have known,” said Deirdre Parke Holleman, executive director of the Washington office for the Retired Enlisted Association, a veterans group, which has not taken a position on whether Mr. Shinseki should resign. “These are problems that should have been dealt with.”
In particular, the 2008 transition report referred to a VA inspector general recommendation to test the accuracy of reported waiting times.
Such tests, the report noted, could prompt action if results reveal “questionable differences” between the dates shown in medical records and dates in the Veterans Health Administration’s scheduling system. It’s unclear whether that recommendation was adopted because VA officials have not responded to request for comment.
But, you know, he’s really angry!! or something. How long before Obama trots out the “my predecessor” is to blame meme?