Friday, May 30, 2014

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki Resigns

This was hardly unexpected. When your boss refuses to give you words of support and your peers are distancing themselves from you it's time to do the right thing and fall on your sword like a good little soldier. I really think that the problems with the VA are both about the people at the top and the entire bureaucratic VA culture. I don't know if the next person to be approved as secretary will make any difference but as one lady manager told me quite some time ago "Your time for excuses and explanations ended when you took the job". If something happens on your watch you are responsible. Period. Nobody wants to hear about what the last Administration did or do not do, especially six years after you took over responsibility and actually ran on making changes. Once again, though this continues a pattern of the President and his direct reports seemingly being out of the loop when major bad mojo is going down. I really do think that this is at least in part a byproduct of the fact that before his election the President had never managed large organizations, either in business or in government bureaucracy. It is also in my opinion a byproduct of the fact that in a bipartisan sense, people love giving lip service to supporting the troops but are often nowhere to be found when the troops need help. Anyway, Shinseki gave us his ritual pound of flesh. It wasn't all his fault but apparently he didn't improve things either. I have no pleasure in seeing him resign nor am I saddened. Let's see if actual changes are made to how the VA delivers health care. I think that a voucher system allowing vets to get private coverage might be the way to go. There's no reason that anyone who laid it on the line for this country, whether you agreed with the policy or not, should have to deal with a p**s poor health care system. Heck, none of us should have to deal with such a system.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday in a personal meeting with President Barack Obama, shortly after publicly apologizing for deep problems plaguing the agency's health care system that Obama called "totally unacceptable."

Obama said Shinseki had served with honor, but the secretary told him the agency needs new leadership and he doesn't want to be a distraction. "I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem," Obama said.Obama said he accepted the retired four-star general's resignation "with considerable regret" during an Oval Office meeting. Shinseki had been facing mounting calls to step down from lawmakers in both parties since a scathing internal report out Wednesday found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.
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