When allegations first surfaced about long wait times for U.S. military veterans seeking treatment at Veterans Affairs medical facilities, the Obama administration sought to put the best spin on things.
President Obama himself suggested that, while embarrassing, the problems weren’t a matter of life and death. “The wait times were for folks who may have had chronic conditions, were seeking their next appointment but may have already received service. It was not necessarily a situation where they were calling for emergency services,” he said.
His last VA Secretary Bob McDonald went even further, suggesting the problems were no worse than wait times at a famous amusement park. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What is important is, what is your satisfaction with the experience,” McDonald said to bipartisan howls.
Now three years and more than 100 criminal investigations later, there is overwhelming evidence the VA wait times were in fact systematic, consequential and involved a widespread cover-up to hide the denial of timely care.
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