Friday, May 30, 2014

Shinseki resigns in the wake of VA health care scandal

Eric Shinseki.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I was a newcomer to the VA Health Care System when I underwent knee replacement surgery in November 2012. My introduction to the system became increasingly complicated. On one occasion, I mentioned to an orthopedic surgeon my frustrations with what I already realized was a massive bureaucracy. She replied, "It's as frustrating for us as it for you."

I believed her.

Recent headlines have borne out the truth of  my observation with my attending physician that day. And just minutes ago, I learned that Eric Shinseki, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, has resigned. I'm not sure how much good replacing Shinseki will do - a bureaucracy after all is a bureaucracy, but we'll see.

Jonathan Topaz reports at Politico on Shinseki's resignation:

President Barack Obama said Friday that with “considerable regret” he had accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“I want to reiterate: he is a very good man,” Obama said, but the secretary came to believe that “he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction…
“I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances.”

The statement came immediately after what Obama had earlier described as a “serious conversation” he had planned to have with Shinseki about the secretary’s “capacity” to adequately handle the problems in the department.

(Also on POLITICO: Dems help upend Obama’s scandal playbook)

“I’ll have a serious conversation with him about whether he thinks he’s prepared and has the capacity to take on the job of fixing it, because I don’t want any veteran to not be getting the kind of services they deserve,” the president said during the excerpt of an interview with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan that was taped on Thursday and aired on Friday.

Shinseki on Friday had been expected to deliver to the president an internal audit on the situation at the VA.

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