The problems at Veterans Affairs extend well beyond long wait lists, with a report Tuesday showing the department is plagued with poor care that has cost up to 1,000 veterans their lives and left taxpayers on the hook for nearly $1 billion in malpractice settlements since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some of the problems detailed in the report by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma are downright ghoulish. They include the case of a former security chief at a New York Veterans Affairs medical center whom the FBI arrested on charges of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder women and children.
More standard is the nightmarish bureaucratic bungling that shows a department in disarray and a culture more concerned with punishing whistleblowers than with fixing the problems they pointed out, said Mr. Coburn, Senate Republicans’ chief investigator who has earned a reputation as the top waste-watcher in Congress.
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