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Chief of staff: Obama 'madder than hell' over VA reports

By Brian Knowlton

New York Times

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:47 a.m. HST, May 19, 2014


WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama is "madder than hell" about reports that some medical facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs have falsified data to hide substantial delays for veterans to see doctors, and he has demanded that the department's leaders "fix these things," the White House chief of staff said in an interview aired Sunday.

"The president is madder than hell, and I've got the scars to prove it, given the briefings that I've given the president" on the subject, the chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, said on the CBS News program "Face the Nation."

He said that the White House had "deployed additional staff over to the Veterans administration to dig into this, to find out if this is a series of isolated cases or whether this is a systemic issue that we need to address with wholesale reform." He also called attention to what he said had been substantial increases in resources devoted to veterans care under Obama.

Veterans groups have expressed mounting anger over reports that workers at some medical centers kept secret waiting lists to disguise what could be waits of months by veterans to see doctors. The department's inspector general is working with federal prosecutors to ascertain whether criminal violations have occurred.

"We realize that the administration has done a lot for the veterans, but that isn't the issue," Dan Dellinger, director of the American Legion, said on CBS. He said that under the Veterans Affairs secretary, Eric K. Shinseki, "Accountability hasn't been there," adding that there had been "egregious mismanagement of the entire system."

McDonough gave no indication that the president was considering dismissing Shinseki, despite calls from several Republican lawmakers and some veterans that he do so.

Asked whether Shinseki retained the president's full confidence and was the right person to lead any reforms, McDonough replied that "he will continue to work these issues until they're fixed."

When a CBS interviewer, Major Garrett, pressed McDonough about why the president had not publicly addressed the matter, McDonough replied: "Nobody is more outraged about this problem right now, Major, than the president of the United States. And he will continue to press as it relates to this question of timely access to care until it is fixed."

The interview was taped Friday, a day after Shinseki, in testimony before a Senate committee, declared that he himself was "mad as hell" about the reported allegations but said that he had no intention of resigning.






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Shinseki: VA 'must do better' on patient care




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Dawg wrote:
I love Shinseki, but I think his time is over. He gave it his best shot.
on May 19,2014 | 06:08AM
palani wrote:
Cannot really blame Shinseki for the shortcomings necessarily endemic to any government run healthcare delivery system. Just imagine how much worse things will be once we are all forced into the Obamacare public option.
on May 19,2014 | 06:45AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Of course you can blame him. This notion that the guy on top does not have personal culpability for what happens on his watch is ridiculous.
on May 19,2014 | 11:17AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Shinseki has to go.
on May 19,2014 | 06:30AM
palani wrote:
The president is madder than hell...

And then the left wing pundits and administration hacks insisted that we "move on" from yet another "phony" scandal to focus on the things Americans really care about, such as climate change and income inequality (both at the bottom of almost every list actually compiled).


on May 19,2014 | 06:39AM
jayz43 wrote:
you forgot amnesty
on May 22,2014 | 03:43AM
false wrote:
Finally, the President feels "madder than hell" over VA like a lot of veterans felt over the years. Where has he been? It's so unfortunate that the VA which is one of the best funded federal agency is so mis-managed and mis-led. The secret waiting list which has led to deaths is unconscionable. It would also be interesting to know if the extremely long processing of VA service connected claims and awaiting medical treatment have led to deaths of veterans especially those who have served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. VA hires more lawyers to deny VA benefits and they are allowed to be inconsistent in their application of prior rulings that affect veterans entitlement to service connected benefits. Fire the army of lawyers and hire more doctors!
on May 19,2014 | 06:50AM
cojef wrote:
Over-staffed at management level as you state and not enough doctors and specialist actually to treat patients. In 1955 spent over 2 weeks in the VA hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Couldn't get discharged from the hospital as there were wanting for patients. For a rectal problem, got a complete dental examination, plus all other tests and lab work. That's something to laugh, but it's the truth. When veterans die because of false lists, that's criminal. Someone has got to go! Even General Shinseki.
on May 19,2014 | 11:29AM
soundofreason wrote:
"President Barack Obama is "madder than hell" about reports that some medical facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs have falsified data to hide substantial delays for veterans to see doctors, and he has demanded that the department's leaders "fix these things," >>>Ohhhhh. Technical jargon. Now you KNOW he's serious.
on May 19,2014 | 06:56AM
st1d wrote:
another red line drawn in the air with disappearing ink.
on May 19,2014 | 07:22AM
Ntuitive wrote:
I got dropped since the last time I went to a VA doctor was in 2007. I was told that I can't see a VA doctor until I get reassigned to a VA primary care provider. It has been almost three weeks now. Lucky I have regular health insurance and can go outside the VA system for my care. Unfortunately I can't get reimbursed by VA for outside care of my service-connected disability.
on May 19,2014 | 07:27AM
XML808 wrote:
"Veterans groups have expressed mounting anger over reports that workers at some medical centers kept secret waiting lists to disguise what could be waits of months by veterans to see doctors. The department's inspector general is working with federal prosecutors to ascertain whether criminal violations have occurred." Start with tampering with an official government record, a crime whether it's the State of Federal government.
on May 19,2014 | 07:32AM
samidunn wrote:
Madder than hell - I bet he is - What a joke!
on May 19,2014 | 08:11AM
Winston wrote:
Right. Here's the predictable sequence: Madder than hell, must investigate, stonewall investigation, not a smidgen of corruption, damn those Republican witch hunts, and finally, dude, that was like months ago.
on May 19,2014 | 08:12AM
Winston wrote:
Right. Here's the predictable sequence: Madder than hell, must investigate, stonewall investigation, not a smidgen of corruption, it's those Republican witch hunts again, and finally, dude, that was like months ago.
on May 19,2014 | 08:12AM
control wrote:
Have you noticed that all of the reported va problems are located in red states?
on May 19,2014 | 08:47AM
lee1957 wrote:
Don't tell us those evil Republicans are at it again! First Granny, now this? Sheesh.
on May 19,2014 | 11:41AM
DAGR81 wrote:
lee1957...ignorance is bliss
on May 19,2014 | 11:54AM
DAGR81 wrote:
So what? Hang in there...just two and half more years of this crap.
on May 19,2014 | 09:14AM
DAGR81 wrote:
Hang in there...just two and a half more years of this incompetence.
on May 19,2014 | 09:15AM
kumasachi wrote:
Obama has lied so many times and that is why it is hard to believe anything he says.
on May 19,2014 | 10:15AM
saveparadise wrote:
Geez, is there any internal government agency that is not corrupt??
on May 19,2014 | 10:50AM
atilter wrote:
if this is the culmination of Shinseki's investigation and report, will he have the chance to wield the broom to clean out the mess? or will he bear the brunt of the COS' wrath? how credible is the report from the COS? how complete is the COS' report to the POTUS? too many bureaucratic links to make a clear and concise determination of the ultimate culpability. will Shinseki become the "goat" for delivering the message? will the POTUS personally speak on the subject or will his designated publicist do it for him?
on May 19,2014 | 11:32AM
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