Patterico's Pontifications


A Union Shares Part Of The Blame

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Along with the gaming of the system, Former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey makes us aware of a group that also hoped to make a buck off the corrupt system at the V.A. – even as veterans died from wait-times: the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of the VA could cut the patient backlog at the VA by as much as half, solving a national crisis.

Almost half of vets are 65 or over, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage.

Often, they’d be better off getting their bypass surgery and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA.

But the VA fails to tell them. The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that dominates the VA. For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program.

The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets and more staff, never mind what ailing vets need.

Nine months ago, the VA rolled out a $9.3 billion program to refer vets needing specialists to civilian medical centers if the wait at their VA was too long or they lived too far away.

AFGE is fighting the program, even accusing VA executives of deliberately causing the backlog.

The union opposes outsourcing. Worse, vets are being discouraged from accessing civilian care, even when they are desperate and have insurance to pay for it. The VA’s health care budget is based on how many vets enroll and how much care they use.

For the unions, the bigger that budget the better. Even if it means letting vets with Medicare who could get timely civilian treatment for their cancer or heart disease die in line instead.

The editorial is worth reading in its entirety. McCaughey also reminds us who stands with the union.

As long as AFGE dominates the VA, the inefficiencies and corruption won’t be fixed.

The union’s contract is filled with mind-numbing rules to prevent workers from being given a new task, changing shifts, or being disciplined for shoddy work. The place is run for workers, not patients.

Shockingly, many VA facilities don’t give vets a reminder call a day or two before their appointments, a practice standard in civilian medical offices.

The result is that no-show rates are as high as 45%, tragic when vets are waiting for an opening. All the more reason to help waiting vets get civilian care. But be prepared for a battle with the VA’s self-serving unions and their ally, the Democratic Party.


10 Responses to “A Union Shares Part Of The Blame”

  1. Ding. Unions, the gift that keeps on giving.

    felipe (098e97)

  2. what I take from this is that our corpulent illiterate union friends find it very easy to hijack government-run healthcare for their own sick and greedy purposes

    And they don’t give a damn how many people die because of it.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  3. Decertify. Better yet pass a law that bars government employee unions entirely at the federal level and in any state or locality receiving federal funds.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  4. Repeal Davis-Bacon while we’re at it.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  5. There was a time and a place when labor unions did help protect the safety and working hours and working conditions of men and women in dangerous private industry jobs such as mines, shipyards, factories and steelmills. That the unions were ever able to sell the idea that people in the government bureaucracy (despite all the regs and laws) still needed unions to “protect” them from the government and taxpayers never fails to amaze me. Even FDR knew that public employee unions were a toxic and dangerous idea. The legacy of the teachers unions and now this VA mess is just more proof.

    elissa (fa1249)

  6. What have the unions ever done for me? (cue Monty Python)

    felipe (098e97)

  7. Mr. Governor Scott Walker has a timely story to tell about these union losers.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  8. Chris Christi, as well.

    felipe (098e97)

  9. Did anyone else see this bit?

    Often, they’d be better off getting their bypass surgery and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA.

    I thought I’d bold the part that stuck out to me. Not only does the union want veterans to die so they can pocket more money, but the survival rate at “civilian” hospitals is higher.

    Yep, that’s what I want. Government healthcare with a lower survival rate than what we had. Why do politicians want to kill us? Crappy healthcare for all. Let’s make our system of healthcare into a 3rd world system. You know, so everything is fair. Why should we have good healthcare when the rest of the world has crappy healthcare?

    BTW Patterico, I like the new editing buttons.

    Tanny O'Haley (c0a74e)

  10. We see the same problems in virtually every single government operation infected with public employee unions. From Teacher’s unions that indoctrinate students while refusing to educate them, to VA hospitals that warehouse patients rather than treat them, to an IRS that extorts money from honest citizens while it conspires to suppress the Administration’s political opponents. There’s only one way to restore the efficient delivery of government services to the taxpaying public: that’s to ban the unionization of public sector employees which would put an end the haughty arrogance of untouchable bureaucrats and curtail the blatant corruption endemic to the current cozy relationship between unions and their political enablers.

    Unless we are willing and able to accomplish that necessary and sensible reform, the Democrat Party and its public employee union accomplices will continue to undermine representative government and betray the nation for personal and political gain, and all at the public’s expense.

    ropelight (334856)

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