Can Veterans Trust Obama On Health Care?

HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman and Air Force veteran Rob Gleason released the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s speech to the VFW Convention in Pittsburgh.

“Today, President Obama is speaking to veterans just minutes from the site of one of the worst failures in the history of VA hospitals,” Gleason said. “Throughout his time in the White House, President Obama promised to make the VA hospitals stronger and more efficient, only to consistently fall short of those goals at the expense of veterans nationwide.

“My fellow veterans should not have to worry about the quality of their health care in Pennsylvania, but that’s what’s happened under the tenure of President Barack Obama. President Obama has a track record of promising VA hospital reform, but sadly the actions of his Administration have yet to match his rhetoric.”


FLASHBACK: In July 2012, Obama Told Veterans: “I Promised To Strengthen The VA, And That Promise Has Been Kept.” OBAMA: “This leads me to another promise I made four years ago — upholding America’s sacred trust with our veterans. I promised to strengthen the VA, and that promise has been kept. In my first year, we achieved the largest percentage increase in the VA budget in 30 years. And we’re going to keep making historic investments in our veterans. When Richard came to the Oval Office, we talked about what those automatic budget cuts — sequestration — could mean for the VA. So my administration has made it clear: Your veteran’s benefits are exempt from sequestration. They are exempt. And because advance appropriations is now the law of the land, veterans’ health care is protected from the budget battles in Washington.” (Barack Obama, Remarks To The 113th National Convention Of The Veterans Of Foreign Wars, Reno, NV, 7/23/12)

The VA In Pittsburgh Knew Of A Legionnaires Disease Outbreak, But Failed To Inform Patients And Families

The VA Hospital Knew For Over A Year It Had An Outbreak Of Legionnaires’ disease But Didn’t Warn Patients While Placing Blame On An Old Water System. “In January 2013, CBS News reported that a Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh knew for more than a year it had an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, but failed to warn patients. VA officials testified before Congress on February 5, 2013, blaming the facilities’ old water system for the outbreak.” (Jennifer Janisch, “VA Hospital Knew Human Error Caused Legionnaires’ Outbreak,” CBS News, 3/13/14)

  • Emails Show Employees At The Clinic Knew Human Error Was Responsible For The Outbreak. “Now, emails and internal memos obtained by CBS News indicate top employees at the Pittsburgh VA knew human error was behind the outbreak, and not an equipment failure as officials suggested to Congress.” (Jennifer Janisch, “VA Hospital Knew Human Error Caused Legionnaires’ Outbreak,” CBS News, 3/13/14)

After Reports Surfaced That A VA Center “Failed To Prevent The Outbreak,” The Facility’s Head Received A $62,895 Bonus. “After the CBS News investigation, the VA’s inspector general found the Pittsburgh VA failed to prevent the outbreak. The man who oversees that hospital is Regional Director Michael Moreland. Just days after that finding, the department gave him a $62,895 service award for saving the government money on a hospital construction project, and for starting a new infection prevention program.” (Elaine Quijano, “Officials At Troubled VA Hospitals Received Big Bonuses,” CBS News, 8/27/13)

The VA In Philadelphia Had Wait Times of 312 Days Along With Rodent And Insect Infestations

Wait Times of 312 Days…Instead of Five “According to a 78-page report issued [by the Office of Inspector General in April 2015], Philadelphia VA office staff did not timely respond to more than 31,000 inquiries from veterans, widows, and potential beneficiaries that had been pending on average 312 days. Responses are supposed to be made within five days.” (John George, “Philadelphia VA blasted in inspector general’s report,” Philadelphia Business Journal, 4/15/15)

Rodent and Insect Infested “Roughly 150 staffers were made to work in a leaky, dilapidated warehouse that lacked bathrooms and was infested by insects and rodents, according to the report.” (Heath Druzin, “Boxes of ignored mail, rodent infestations in Philadelphia latest black eye for VA,” Stars and Stripes, 4/15/15)