A Salute to the VA

For some time now, a Trumpist-Force Ordnance has been massed at the border of the Veteran’s Administratiion. But its intended incursion is clogged with incompetence and ignorance.

The obstacles they’re dealing with are of their own manufacture. The preponderance of their artillery is devoid of munitions and the remainder is loaded with blanks.

Two former Trump-Era officials, Peter O’Rourke and Darin Selnick, both discredited by scandal during the peformance of their administrative duties, are today spearheading a thoroughly offensive offensive , armed with a bulging war chest, most probably brimming with Koch-Bros. funding.

The toxic disinformation salvos began in 2014, when right-wing storm troopers maintained that some vet patients’ deaths were triggered by VA wait-time neglect. The chief claim of the accusation was later refuted by the VA’S Office of Inspector General, which stated “We are unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the death of these veterans.”

But, regrettably, before the report was issued, Trumpist lobbyists were able to inveigle Congress into passing the dysfunctional VA Choice Act, which marched millions of veterans into frequently faulty private care, while massively bloating the revenues of private healthcare providers.

Since that time, VA has faced more constant sniping from right- wing-extremist positions, all with one aim: Privatization. And, as most of us know, Privatization usually converts into Privation, witness America’s cruelly substandard private penal corporations, and our city’s tax-income-robbing private parking-meter system, and private schools with subpar teachers and subpar student-teacher ratios, etc. etc. etc. Behind the scenes, cabals of predatory Private Providers privately, demonically cackle over their obscenely excessive profits.

Long story short: Against the headwinds of all the preposterous allegations, today’s Biden-era VA stands tall , with recent studies revealing that veterans transported by ambulance to VA facilities rather than private hospitals stand a decidedly better chance of short term and long term survival, far lower costs notwithstanding. Furthermore, a towering pile of academic reports avows that the VA outshines the private sector in nearly every metric, including wait-time. And let’s not overlook the fact that the VA offers free college, free healthcare, and a progressive battle plan to extinguish homelessness.

Enter anecdotal evidence: Allow me to recount the personal VA experiences that led to my VA fan-club buttressing. Thanks to a form-letter signed by then President Clinton (Remember peace, prosperity and budget surpluses?) inviting me to avail myself of VA care, I’ve been thriving under VA ministrations. During my regular no-disappointment appointments, I never have to wait more than 5 minutes for a nurse to take my blood-pressure (and other screenings) and never more than 15 minutes to see my assigned physician, who attentively. invariably and patiently listens. Especially, patiently. In his celebrated book, How Doctors Think, Harvard oncologist and New Yorker contributor Jerome Groopman cites a study that finds the average listening-time doctors wait, before they themselves speak, is 18 seconds; VA doctors easily score far better than that. Moreover, VA doctors have been vigilant in monitoring my conditions, adjusting or adding medications when deemed necessary and making added diagnoses as age ineluctably whittles away my fettle. Indeed, after the head of the Lake Shore facility noted my labored breathing as he passed by, he tested my lung capacity, diagnosed COPD and described medication that has since ameliorated the condition. From a vet’s perspective, that’s the kind of attention that puts me at ease. Why, the Lake Shore facility even furnishes free valet parking from an area otherwise infamous for sky-high parking lot fees. When mass vaccination time came, the VA was extraordinarily timely and incredibly organized. Granted, it’s obviously easier to organize the veritable platoons of men and women who have been well trained in following orders; nonetheless, VA alacrity allowed me to receive my gentle jabs and exit in far less time than I’d anticipated. Same narrative holds for every vaccination visit Ive made.

In conclusion, let me urge readers to repel the horde drooling at the VA borders with their hoard of misleading propaganda. Their vetting of the VA is–using a fitting, old-school word sometimes issued from the lips of our distinguished POTUS–malarky.

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