Outrageous 'What the Hell Happened?!': A Year Since the VA Scandal, There's Been ONE Firing
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the House floor Wednesday to highlight just how little accountability there has been since the VA scandal broke one year ago.
"Just one person has been fired. One," Boehner said in his scathing speech. "What the hell happened to the rest of them?"
The scandal broke a year ago when whistleblowers shined the light on the Phoenix VA Medical Center, accusing senior officials of creating "secret waiting lists" in order to conceal the fact that veterans were not getting the care they needed.
Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, was fired as a result, but she's still the only one who's been fired at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The problems in Phoenix led to veterans speaking out across the country about long wait times and then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned.
Boehner said the number of patients facing long waits is about the same as it was last year, while the number of patients waiting more than 90 days has nearly doubled.
The New York Times reported:
[...] in February, the new secretary, Robert A. McDonald, asserted in a nationally televised interview that the department had fired 60 people involved in manipulating wait times to make it appear that veterans were receiving care faster than they were. In fact, the department quickly clarified after that interview, only 14 people had been removed from their jobs, while about 60 others had received lesser punishments.
Now, new internal documents show that the real number of people removed from their jobs is much smaller still: at most, three.
The documents given this month to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, which provided them to The New York Times, show that the department punished a total of eight of its 280,000 employees for involvement in the scandal. One was fired, one retired in lieu of termination, one’s termination is pending, and five were reprimanded or suspended for up to two months.
Martha MacCallum discussed the outrageous situation today with radio host Lars Larson and Marjorie Clinton, a former Obama campaign consultant.
Clifton said there have been numerous VA "scandals" every few years going all the way back to 1921. She argued that the VA structure is broken and that no amount of firings will fix it.
Larson said the job of providing health care to veterans needs to be handed over to private industry.
Watch the discussion above.