Connect with us

Federalists

A Federalist idea for fixing for the VA

Published

on

Anyone who watches the news has seen the years long scandals at the Veterans Administration- appointment wait times falsified, sloppy surgical procedures, and over prescription of pain killers among them.  Veterans who sacrificed for America were, in many cases, given sub-standard care and in some cases, lost their lives because of it.  The VA is the best example of why bureaucracy is the enemy of any successful government program.  Though the majority of VA employees share a calling to practice medicine and care for Veterans, they are confounded by the fact that the leadership of the VA values progress reports over actual progress.  Many post 9/11 Veterans, myself included, have given up on the VA as a source of medical care due to the chaos.

The VA scandals are not a partisan issue; the problems started under Pres Bush, worsened under Pres Obama, and persist under Pres Trump.  The root cause, of course, is the length of the War of Terror; seven years spent in Iraq (and now adding more) and the 16 years and counting in Afghanistan.  The decision to go to war usually includes an estimate of the cost for military operations, but the cost to care for our warriors after they return home is not included.  Pres Obama passed VA ‘fixes’ through Congress designed to alleviate the backlog of disability claims from the wars, and there were some modest improvements.  Pres Trump has pushed reform through executive as well as Congressional action, with an emphasis on protecting whistle-blowers, but faces push back from the entrenched federal employee unions.

Early America never had a coherent plan for dealing with war veterans.  After the Revolutionary War, individual states authorized pensions for those wounded or disabled by their service.  As the states coalesced into the United States, the federal government began paying benefits to soldiers and their widows, though the states still took the lead in establishing Veteran’s homes to care for those who had served.  The aftermath of the Civil War still saw Veterans mostly tended to by the states they enlisted with.  The turning point for the federal government to take over care of veterans from the states came a decade after World War One as the Great Depression set in- when a large assembly of Veterans descended on Washington DC to demand the bonuses they had been promised by Congress.  In 1930 the Veterans Administration was established, and in 1989 it became a cabinet level agency.  Today, the VA Health Administration employs about 300,000 employees, and the VA overall has another 75,000 in the areas of disability claims, GI bill benefits and transition assistance.  The VA is the largest federal department other than the Department of Defense itself.

And there lies the solution to the problems at the VA and a way to streamline the federal government.  The Veterans Administration should be folded into the Department of Defense.  The cost of providing health care and benefits to our Veterans is directly tied to the size of our military and the wars that our congress chooses to authorize.  The separation of the Department of Defense from the department that will care for the men and women it sends to war is an artificial one that makes no logistical sense.

Bringing the VA under the DOD would present numerous advantages.  While the VA suffers from an employee union that prevents the firing of employees charged with felony theft and falsification of records, the DOD is actively considering changing its policies to remove collective bargaining.  Uniting the military and Veterans into one care system would allow greater flexibility- Soldiers getting care at a VA facility and Veterans at a military hospital.  Moreover, medical assets- from doctors and nurses to equipment- could be shifted from military to Veteran care facilities based on patient volume and need.  There is currently no ability for the VA and military to share medical resources.  Combined with allowing routine medical care at civilian clinics, this streamlining offers a huge potential for cost savings while improving service.

The biggest unintended benefit of joining the war fighters with the Veterans would be a single format for medical records.  Many of the problems at the VA over the last decade have stemmed from one computer system at the Pentagon, and a different, incompatible system at the VA.  A Marine discharged after a tour in Afghanistan has to see all of his military medical records transcribed into the VA system before he/she can be diagnosed properly.  This is bureaucracy at its complete worst.

The last two advantages of moving the VA under the DOD are subtle but important.  First, the Veterans Administration has long been the shield that progressives hide under when conservatives ask what part of the Constitution justifies ridiculous federal spending programs.  “What part of the Constitution is the VA covered under?” they respond.  This is a valid point, and one that conservatives lack an answer to, since we are support Veterans by our patriotic nature.  Positioning the VA as part of the military removes that shield, and opens up the departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and the EPA to the rightful criticism they deserve.  Any federalist effort to downsize the scope and role of the federal government will always hit the roadblock of the VA, so let’s take this arrow out of the opposition’s quiver.

Lastly, attaching the VA to the DOD has been an idea bantered around by progressives over the last few years.  Their reasoning for supporting this idea, not surprisingly, has more to do with reigning in the military and the use of it around the world than it does practicality.  Nonetheless, it’s a good likelihood that a federalist solution to the VA could be welcomed by conservatives and liberals alike, attracting more from the left side of the aisle to the federalist cause.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Conservatism

James Madison on the only legitimate fountain of power

Published

on

James Madison on the only legitimate fountain of power

If ever there was a quote made for the people of today, it’s this one. So many Americans are lost in the fog of false accountability. We rely too heavily on government because we assume they have the power. In some ways, they do, but it’s a power limited by the constraints of the Constitution. This is important to remember because too often it’s just assumed that what the government says or does is to be taken as the final word.

We have the power. It’s not just with our votes. We have the ability to rise up and work together to rein in the tremendous levels of overreach we’ve seen from Washington DC our whole lives. We don’t need to rise up in arms as our founding fathers did. Today, we still have enough law and order in America to be able to rely on proper political channels. This is why the growth of the American Conservative Movement is so vibrant and relevant. It’s time to reassert our interest and adherence to the Constitutional governance we have at our fingertips.

“The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.”

Invoke your power. It’s time to say no to politicians when they attempt to go outside of the bounds of the Constitution.

 


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Federalists

Supreme Court ruling on fines and forfeitures isn’t a blow to states’ rights. It’s a win for individual rights.

Published

on

Supreme Court ruling on fines and forfeitures isnt a blow to states rights Its a win for individual

If the federal government could be characterized in gaming terms, players would call it “OP.” It is “overpowered” and has been for over a hundred years, relegating many powers that should belong to the states as secondary to DC’s supremacy. This fact has driven the federalist, convention of states, and 10th Amendment movements to the point that any actions against the states are deemed oppressive the majority of the time.

In the case of the Supreme Court ruling to curb powers of state governments and law enforcement from imposing steep fines or seizing too much property, one might think this goes against the federalist mentality of letting states decide for themselves. It is not. The exception to the rule that the federal government acting against state governments is bad happens when individual rights are being protected.

That’s checks and balances. That’s federalism.

Conservatives, federalists, Libertarians, and classical liberals have a responsibility to draw down federal government power whenever it’s appropriate, which is the vast majority of the time. But even the states must sometimes be put in check when they’re abusing the rights of citizens, as is often the case with incongruous fines and property forfeitures. We must be discerning and recognize when the federal government is acting to defend our rights against the states.

It’s telling that the Supreme Court voted unanimously in this case. It shows that when something is so blatantly unconstitutional, party politics can be put aside to do what’s right for American citizens.

 


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Economy

A reminder to GOP lawmakers from Justin Amash

Published

on

A reminder to GOP lawmakers from Justin Amash

When Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) hadn’t been in Washington DC for very long when he said this amazing quote. At the time, many weren’t paying much attention. After all, many Republicans say similar things when they get to DC, but over time they become jaded, corrupted, or start to get used to being in the DC Country Club.

Amash is different. He has remained consistent with his message and views throughout his career. Now, it’s time for other Republicans to remember what they were sent to Washington DC to do in the first place. Defense of the Constitution is their top priority as it’s the best protection against a government that wants desperately to control every aspect of our lives. From healthcare to the internet to how we use our energy, government intervention has become so commonplace, it’s often hard to see the fabric of our nation behind all the layers of bureaucracy that has been placed on top of it.

“I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”

If more Republicans followed the same principles and didn’t just use them in campaign speeches, we may actually be able to return liberties that have been taken and remove layers of government that have been formed unnecessarily.


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending

Copyright © 2019 NOQ Report