Congressman Steve Stockman

Representing the 36th District of Texas

Stockman: New revelations indicate Obama knew of VA scandal, ignored it, while death toll mounted

May 19, 2014
Press Release

>> Obama first told of VA problems in 2008

>> Obama chose to not act for years, even as veterans died

>> Obama wasn’t ‘mad,’ did nothing for five years, until media discovered scandal

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) issued the following statement Monday following reports the Obama administration was first told in 2008 of record falsification by Veterans Administration personnel:

“New revelations that President Barack Obama has known since 2008 about delayed care and record falsification at Veterans Administration facilities, but did nothing even as veterans died, call into question his personal role in the scandal.

Appearing in a taped interview with “Face The Nation” this Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough claimed Obama “is madder than hell” over media reports some Veterans Affairs personnel were falsifying reports to hide delays in medical care.  Those delays led to the untimely deaths of many veterans, including 40 at just one facility in Arizona.

McDonough went on to say Obama recently “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.”

McDonough’s comments would make it seem Obama learned of the scandal at the same time as the rest of us, is not aware of its nature, and quickly took action.

None of that is true.  Obama knew.  Obama knew for over five years.  And Obama chose to do nothing even as veterans continued to die.

“The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care,” The Washington Times reports Monday morning.

“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” VA officials told Obama, flatly warning him veterans could die unless the problem was quickly addressed.

That’s exactly what happened.  And Obama still did nothing.

We also learned today some veterans allegedly committed suicide rather than wait for care.

“Dr. Margaret Moxness, who says she was employed at the Huntington VA Medical Center in Charleston, W.Va., from 2008 to 2010, told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Monday that she was told to delay treatment even after she told supervisors they needed immediate care. She said at least two patients committed suicide while waiting for treatment between appointments,” Fox News reports Monday.

That is at least 42 recorded deaths linked to VA delays since Obama was told of the problem.  Obama continued to ignore the rising death toll until it was publicly exposed.  Only then did he claim to be ‘madder than hell’ and took action, which he should have done over five years ago.

This is a serious issue.  The White House must immediately provide Congress with the answers to questions, such as:

>> What was the extent of President Obama’s knowledge of the delays and record falsification?

>> When exactly did President Obama personally become aware of the delays and record falsification?

>> What specific actions did President Obama take to address the delays and record falsification?

>> When were those actions, if any, taken?

>> If President Obama knew about the delays and record falsification before the media reports, why was nothing done until it became a political issue?

If President Obama knew about the delays and record falsification and did nothing even as veterans died, it would be a serious breach of trust and violation of his duty.  The White House must cooperate with Congress to fully investigate this fatal scandal and hold accountable to the fullest extent of the law anyone whose negligence resulted in the deaths of veterans.

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