Quick Hit: The Low Bar of the VA Veteran

May 21, 2014

HAS ANYONE noticed that the people expressing surprise that the Veterans Administration (VA) not only failed its charges but also shunted them aside were not the veterans themselves?

No, surprised were the wives, the sisters, the children, the whistle-blowers and other well-meaning innocents. The actual veterans, those still alive, expected as much. Their bar for outrage, after years of dealing with government bureaucracy in its various forms, was set far, far lower.

My last (I hope) visit to a VA physician, newly arrived by her accent, found my hopes raised by her description of a particularly effective new medicine. She used it daily. Wondrous results. No more hip pain.

Could I have some? I could not. It was not on the official list of medicines. She would write a prescription for something else. Aspirin salve. Sort of like horse liniment.

Appreciation for my even nominally private physician (should I be able to keep him) compounded immediately. And I knew better than to complain to my kind VA doctor doing the best the system would allow her to do.

But I could see what was down the road, and it wasn’t pretty. My health and I were largely on our own. Nor would it matter how mad a president might get about it all. — Craig Ladwig



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