Patterico's Pontifications

5/28/2014

Nancy Pelosi: It Depends On What The Definition of ‘Scandal’ Is

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ezra Klein asks Nancy Pelosi what her position is on the “ongoing scandal” in the Veterans Health Administration.

Pelosi brazenly obfuscates and attempts to spin in a disgustingly shameful manner.

As a reminder,

At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for medical appointments at Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system — including many placed on a secret waiting list.

The list was part of a complex cost-cutting scheme set up by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix aiming to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait up to 21 months to see a doctor.

Retiring Dr. Sam Foote, who spent 24 years with the VA system, told CNN that the Phoenix VA worked off two patient appointment lists.

The “official” list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 days. Foote called this a “sham list” because there was another secret document where waits where much longer.

“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules. They developed the secret waiting list,” he said.

According to Foote, the elaborate plans involved shredding evidence to hide the long list, with VA officials instructing staff to not make veterans’ appointments in the computer system.

If this does not fit the very definition of scandal, what on earth does?

–Dana

58 Responses to “Nancy Pelosi: It Depends On What The Definition of ‘Scandal’ Is”

  1. Pelosi obfuscates and spins like Sammy.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  2. it’s only a scandal if she can blame Bush

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  3. “If this does not fit the very definition of scandal, what on earth does?”

    Since evidence is building that the multiple list scheme was for the purpose of obtaining bonus pay for those who otherwise did not qualify, it looks like a pretty good fit for actual fraud. The VA managers extracted money from the government treasury was not due them.

    Gramps, the original (4615a6)

  4. Comments seem to be working. My comment on this.

    It all depends on whether or not you know which side your bread is buttered on.

    Steny Hoyer: We Must Protect The Most Important Clients of the VA– Democrat-Voting Government Bureaucrats

    The VA doesn’t exist to serve veterans. It exists to employ reliable democratic constituencies.

    Welcome to Obamacare.

    Steve57 (abdd77)

  5. interesting how the name & time are now on top, instead of under the comment.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  6. Bet you her Walter Reed facelift surgery went off on schedule.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  7. Pelosi obfuscates and spins like Sammy.

    Sammy isn’t evil.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  8. says you…

    the way he’s always trying to spin the stupidity of Obumbles is pretty much evil in my book.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  9. Gramps, the original (4615a6) — 5/28/2014 @ 10:24 pm

    Since evidence is building that the multiple list scheme was for the purpose of obtaining bonus pay for those who otherwise did not qualify, it looks like a pretty good fit for actual fraud. The VA managers extracted money from the government treasury was not due them.

    I think there was something bgger involved.

    Notice this:

    The “official” list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 days

    This seems to be collapsing two different things. (I’m learning the details of this scandal as time goes on, but the reporters writing about this, as too often is the case, don’t seem to be learning that much, and sometimes “learn” things that are wrong. That’s especially true with the non-scandals created by partisn Democrats)

    Anyway, first it was 30 days and then it was 14 days. It was set at 30 days in 1995, during the Clinton Administration, and then at 14 days, in 2011, during the Obama Admisnitrations (by the retired The “official” list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 day by the suddenly retired Robert Petzel.

    Now why would they make it harder for themselves to receive bonuses? If that was the
    whole scandal, then it was all at a lower level, and the top leel bureacrats were fooled. But I don’t think tht’s the case.

    This wasn;’t about bonuses. That was just the incentive for thr lower level bureacrats to help. This was about maintaining the status quo. And there were people who benefitted from the status quo in amuch larger way, which we haven’t been given the details to understand.

    ———–

    Note: Something looks a little bit different here. The comment box is bigger, and goes all the way to the right. But that’s more like the way it appears when it is posted. Except that you don’t see it all of what is going to post because it continues ubderneath the column at the right side of the page, so that’s not good. I don’t look at the screen – at what I typed – enough as it is.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  10. She is loathesome.

    JD (78609b)

  11. If this does not fit the very definition of scandal, what on earth does?

    Nazi Pelosi being elected and re-elected over and over by a gang of stupid leftist voters in Cali. Now that’s a scandal.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  12. I don’t know if the horror is the deaths, or the seeming indifference of those in charge;

    http://therightscoop.com/watch-live-house-hearing-on-veterans-affairs-scandal/

    narciso (3fec35)

  13. You can count on Pelosi to get to the bottom of it, bottom-feeder that she is.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  14. But take heart! Teh 6th Annual Recovery Summer is on the horizon! http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. Is it possible to be more shameless than Norma Desmond, yes we can:

    http://www.jammiewf.com/2014/awesome-democrat-comes-to-robust-defense-of-the-va/

    narciso (3fec35)

  16. How difficult would it be for so called news reporters to figure out who in the VA is responsible for this policy? It apparently occurred in Tucson and Phoenix so lets start with the supervisor of that region.

    The fact is that lying about statistics is an Obama trademark starting with “jobs created and saved.” My favorite is that the unemployment rate is going down because Obama takes them out of the work force.

    As many have said, the VA scandal is a preview of our forthcoming national health care system. And the media isn’t critical of it so it won’t look very hard for who is responsible for Veterangate.

    AZ Bob (533fbc)

  17. 17. AZ Bob (533fbc) — 5/29/2014 @ 7:12 am

    How difficult would it be for so called news reporters to figure out who in the VA is responsible for this policy? It apparently occurred in Tucson and Phoenix so lets start with the supervisor of that region.

    Who originally started it is hard to tell, and the falsifying of appointment times might have started in the Clinton Administration or even earlier.

    But who decided to reduce the official goal from 30 days to 14 days in 2011 (doubling down on the cover-up?) is known.

    That was Robert Petzel, the Undersecretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs. (which is what VA is now called, now that it’s a Cabinet Post – since 1989!? – and no longer the Veterans Administration – but they kept the same initials!)

    That was reported (and the way it is mentioned, in passing, doesn’t sound like it’s the first time or the first place) in an article by Ben Kesling and Dion Nissenbaum that appeared on page A$ of the Saturday/Sunday, May 24-25, 2014 Wall Street Journal.

    Here’s a link, but I don’t know how many people can view it:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20140523-711590.html

    Robert Petzel, the undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs until a week ago, directed in 2011 that goals for many wait times in the VA system be cut to 14 days from 30. That possibly set off efforts by employees to game the appointment system, a Government Accountability Office official said on Friday.

    Over pastries and coffee in a VA conference room on May 14, “I asked [Dr. Petzel] if they are unrealistic goals,” said Garry Augustine, executive director of the Disabled American Veterans. “He sat back and said, ‘Maybe they are unrealistic.’ ”

    Stuart Hickey, executive director of AMVETS, confirmed the exchange, remembering Dr. Petzel replying to Mr. Augustine’s question by saying, “We might have to reconsider, you might be right there.”

    The meeting was held behind closed doors and wasn’t transcribed. The VA couldn’t confirm the comments, and Dr. Petzel couldn’t be reached for comment.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  18. @AZ Bob:

    The fact is that lying about statistics is an Obama trademark starting with “jobs created and saved.”

    Well, yes, but that’s been done by every president since at least Truman.

    As many have said, the VA scandal is a preview of our forthcoming national health care system.

    Not exactly. It’s not even a preview of single-payer. The VA is a preview of “single provider”

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  19. According to that WSJ article I linked to, the scandal arose after a (Wednesday) April 9 Cngressional hearing. That was seven weeks ago – the week before Passover began.

    (it still took a little while after that to come to major public attention.)

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  20. #19… in Sammy’s humble opinion…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. As many have said, the VA scandal is a preview of our forthcoming national health care system.

    Not exactly. It’s not even a preview of single-payer. The VA is a preview of “single provider””

    Sammy – What AzBob said was exactly correct. Your Pelosi obfuscation was completely unnecessary once again. Many Democrats are big fans of the UK’s terrible NHS system and believe that is where we should wind up.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. The VA is out to finish the job Major Nidal Hasan started.

    ropelight (943512)

  23. daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/29/2014 @ 8:42 am

    Many Democrats are big fans of the UK’s terrible NHS system and believe that is where we should wind up.

    I’m not so sure. Aren’t they fans of the Canadian system, not the NHS?

    Some of them are fans of putting more doctors on salary, but that’s still not single-provider.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  24. Now that there is an official Inspector General’s report, President Obama “knows” that gaming of the system occured.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/28/va-wait-times-veterans-shinseki-inspector-general/9671241/

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  25. Some guys need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    ropelight (943512)

  26. Obama hasn’t commented yet, but many more Democrats are now calling for Shinseki to resign.. I don’t see how that follows. Did he have any special incompetence?

    The report did not cover the question of whether anybody actually died because of this.

    From the USA TODAY article:

    Conclusions about whether patients died as a result of waiting for care or were otherwise harmed were not included in the report because further investigation is necessary, death certificates studied and medical records analyzed.

    I’m pretty sure Obama doesn’t want to get that report in anytime soon.

    Congress held a late night hearing.

    Assistant deputy under secretary etc. Thomas Lynch made excuses (or did he?) for treating every single instance instance of gaming of the scheduling system reported for years by VA Office of Inspector General as exceptions.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  27. 24. daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/29/2014 @ 8:42 am

    Many Democrats are big fans of the UK’s terrible NHS system and believe that is where we should wind up.

    I’m not so sure. Aren’t they fans of the Canadian system, not the NHS?

    Some of them are fans of putting more doctors on salary, but that’s still not single-provider.
    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2) — 5/29/2014 @ 1:14 pm

    Sammy, quit listening to that hamster running on that wheel inside your head.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamas-nominee-be-medicaremedicaid-chief-britains-nhs-i-love-it

    …“Dr. Berwick is a huge fan of … the NHS, a system that relies on rationing health care to hold down costs,” Roberts said. “Dr. Berwick has said, ‘I am a romantic about the NHS; I love it,’ and ‘the NHS is not just a national treasure, it is a global treasure.’”

    “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open,” Berwick said last June…

    That was what this guy was saying when he was Obama’s nominee for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He was confirmed, and was the administrator from July 2010 to December 2011.

    Why did Obama nominate him, and why was he confirmed. Because daley is right and your hamster is wrong. Democrats by and large love the NHS. If you listen to the Democrats, they’ll tell you.

    I doubt you’ll stop listening to that hamster what tells you what everyone thinks, though.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  28. Accountability isn’t really a thing, Hillary, Susan Rice, Sebelius, Lerner,what does it take;

    http://minx.cc:1080/?post=339755/

    narciso (3fec35)

  29. I remember reading about Berwick now, (probably because I read the magaqzine article) but he was an exception. You won’t find too many other Democrats endorsing the NHS, and he was not an elected official. Don Berwick makes money from being pro-NHS.

    It does point to Obama’s tolerance of, and maybe liking, of medical rationing.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  30. “You won’t find too many other Democrats endorsing the NHS, and he was not an elected official.”

    Sammy – Did I qualify my statement by limiting it to elected officials? No, I did not. That is a modifier you are attempting to add. Don’t forget about Ezekiel Emanuel, a White House health care adviser, who is a huge fan of rationing and a former bioethicist I believe with the NHS.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  31. 29. Comment 515 at Ace:

    I promise you Shinseki didn’t come up with this scheme to falsify results and pay bonuses for the phony “improvements,” which have enriched at least dozens, probably hundreds, and perhaps thousands of managers (who outnumber caregivers at the VA 2-1).

    If you let Obama blame Shinseki, it will all be swept under the rug. They will just point to his hide on the wall and call it “accountability

    Another comment says that if the Bush’s people had been half as clever as Obama’s, this whole Plame thing would never have gotten out of hand (I think that’s what it is saying.)

    Another links to http://tinyurl.com/lgsgd7t which reports what nk and elissa said here about the problem NOT being not enough doctors.

    In Albuquerque, there are 8 cardiologists, but only 3 are on duty at any time, and each sees less than 2 a day. About 36 are seen a week.

    Now that’s as much as a single, solitary, private practice cardiologist sees in 2 days.

    So 2 1/2 ordinary physician weeks = 40 VA doctor weeks

    And 1 regular cardiologist = 16 VA cardiologists.

    Is my math right?

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  32. Sammy – Where your memory fails you is that the U.K.’s NHS was directly injected into the Obamacare debate by liberals to show the unfavorable cost comparison between the U.S. health care system and what was deliverable with state run or partially state run foreign systems.

    What Democrats did not like was Republicans pointing out the flaws and horror stories from foreign health systems of which rationing is a natural result which is popping up in the VA scandal.

    Democrats owe Republicans a big acknowledgement of their “I told you so” which is unlikely to be forthcoming.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  33. “I’m not so sure. Aren’t they fans of the Canadian system, not the NHS?”

    Sammy – They like both systems, but they don’t want to talk about why so many Canadians come to the U.S. to seek treatment because the Canadian system has such long waiting times, sort of like the VA.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  34. Barrel full of fish.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  35. Daleyrocks @32.

    Don’t forget about Ezekiel Emanuel, a White House health care adviser, who is a huge fan of rationing and a former bioethicist I believe with the NHS.

    Those two are lumped together here:

    http://conservativehideout.com/2011/01/29/exploring-the-intent-of-obamacare-donald-berwick-and-ezekiel-emanuel/

    You only need single payer to get rationing. You don’t need the NHS or the VA. It only talks about the NHS in conection with Berwick.

    When the government starts paying for something, the next thing is, they want to save money. This has been held off in Medicare for a long time, but there’s always pressure for that.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  36. Here’s another blogger about Berwick:

    http://presentdiscontent.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/obamas-cms-nominee-loves-the-nhs/

    I’m not sure anybody else has endorsed the NHS (as opposed to endorsing medical rationing)

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  37. Oh sweet infant baby Jesus. You cannot really be that damn literal, can you, Sammah?

    JD (e5a0fa)

  38. Look Krugman, Kristof and Klein, the three stooges were touting the VA as the model for Obamacare, they couldn’t well admit it was exactly that, a precursor to the death panel, literally,

    narciso (3fec35)

  39. “When the government starts paying for something, the next thing is, they want to save money.”

    Sammy – They may say that, but when has it happened?

    You can stop quibbling any time.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  40. Your hamster doesn’t read much, Sammy.

    http://reason.org/news/printer/tom-daschles-plan-for-health-c

    For example, in Critical, Daschle argues that Fed Health “could help define evidence-based health benefits and lower overall spending by determining which medicines, treatments, and procedures are most effective—and identifying those that do not justify their high price tags.” Daschle adds, “We won’t be able to make a significant dent in health-care spending without getting into the nitty-gritty of which treatments are the most clinically valuable and cost effective. That means taking a harder look at the real costs and benefits of new drugs and procedures.”

    Notice that Daschle is conflating two kinds of comparisons—clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Determining clinical effectiveness—that is, comparing different treatments to find out which ones work better—is certainly an appealing idea. After all, no patient would want an inferior treatment when a better one is available. However, determining cost-effectiveness is a much more fraught activity. How much is an extra few months of life worth? How much more should be spent on treatments that have fewer nasty side effects?

    Daschle explicitly models his Fed Health on Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE evaluates treatments for both clinical and cost effectiveness. A treatment may be clinically beneficial, but patients may not get access to it through Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) if NICE determines that it’s too expensive.

    Let’s see; Tom Daschle, Democrat, former elected official, and if he had paid his taxes he would have been Obama’s HHS secretary. And he, like many other Democrats, endorsed using Britain’s NHS as a model for health care reform.

    Tell your hamster to shut up, Sammy.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  41. I need to correct the record. Berwick was never confirmed by the Senate. He had been too explicit about the Democratic party’s love of the NHS. So the Senate Democrats refused to hold a confirmation hearing. And then Obama used a recess appointment to install him at CMS.

    Oh, and further to my last, Daschle not only was Obama’s pick for HHS secretary he was a major advisor on Obamacare.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  42. Wasn’t there some crazy obscure lady politician who got all loony tunes about death panels?

    elissa (550033)

  43. Sammy does not tell the hamster, the hamster tells Sammy.

    felipe (098e97)

  44. Sammy – Please explain if there is any practical difference from a patient care perspective which causes you to continue you flogging this dead horse between a single-payer system and a nationalized or government system such as the VA or NHS.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  45. felipe – LOL!

    Son of Sammy’s hamster.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  46. “When the government starts paying for something, the next thing is, they want to save money.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/29/2014 @ 3:36 pm

    Sammy – They may say that, but when has it happened?

    Maybe about ten years or so into a new program.

    It happens every time, when a government starts paying for health care.

    It happened with Medicare in 1983 with the Diagnosis Related Groups

    https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-09-00-00200.pdf

    In 1982, Congress mandated the creation of a prospective payment system (PPS) to control costs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnosis-related_group

    Now controlling costs hasn’t necessarily worked. It is always far easier to cut muscle than fat. Useful things rather than waste.

    Third party payments are a big problem.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  47. Do we no longer have the ability to use the “strike” feature in our comments ?
    Because that’s like 50% of my game.
    Or something.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  48. daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/29/2014 @ 4:09 pm

    Please explain if there is any practical difference from a patient care perspective which causes you to continue you flogging this dead horse between a single-payer system and a nationalized or government system such as the VA or NHS.

    It’s much more difficult to maneuver around. They can’t control what doctors do quite as effectively when they don’t employ them. There is more opposition.

    It’s not single payer that’s the problem, it’s the government trying to control costs and prevent the system from busting the budget under single payer that is the problem.

    Cost regulation is a potential problem even under Obamacare, which is not single payer.

    But

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  49. Sammy, you come up with some of the most Orwellian definitions.
    Saying that “single payer isn’t the problem, it’s just the government trying to control costs in a single payer system” is like saying something like, “Drinking Pine Sol isn’t a problem per se, it’s just the difficulty that the human body has in processing the Pine Sol.”

    Good grief, Charlie Brown.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  50. Everybody stand back! Sammy is “cutting muscle”.

    felipe (098e97)

  51. If this does not fit the very definition of scandal, what on earth does?

    If you can make the comment “It depends on what you mean by ‘No’” with a straight face… if you can hear the comment made without hurting your eyes by having them roll too far back in your head…

    Then it seems remarkably obvious that the word “scandal” has a vast array of possible meanings not common when applied to, say, “Republicans”.

    Smock Puppet, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  52. When the government starts paying for something, the next thing is, they want to save money

    Uhhh, yeeeah, Sammy.

    What is the name of the strange, alien dimension you hail from, again?

    I mean, the one where the laws of physics don’t hold sway, much less ephemeral things like the essential properties of governmental economics?

    Smock Puppet, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  53. Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 5/29/2014 @ 4:22 pm

    Saying that “single payer isn’t the problem, it’s just the government trying to control costs in a single payer system” is like saying something like, “Drinking Pine Sol isn’t a problem per se, it’s just the difficulty that the human body has in processing the Pine Sol.”

    Good grief, Charlie Brown.

    No, because cost controls do not start at the same time as when single payer starts.

    That only happens years down the road.

    (Or so it was. Maybe now it would be more close, or virtually simultaneously.).

    This is an important point.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  54. Smock Puppet @ 54

    What is the name of the strange, alien dimension you hail from, again?

    The Sammy Zone.

    Of course governments try to save money. That happened at the VA. They changed the eligibility criteria for benefits.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)

  55. “This is an important point.”

    Sammy – What point, all I see is waffling around?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  56. “This is an important point.”

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/29/2014 @ 10:46 pm

    Sammy – What point, all I see is waffling around?

    You won’t see all the bad effects (on medical care, or of inflation) of single payer the first year. Or the second. Or the third.

    It didn’t happen that way in Canada.

    This shows up much later.

    Sammy Finkelman (b66da2)


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