Obama signs $16 billion VA overhaul into law

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President Obama

Sally Barnes-Breen watched her father die while waiting months just to see a doctor at the dysfunctional Department of Veterans Affairs.

Now she says a bill signed into law on Thursday by President Barack Obama doesn’t hold accountable those responsible for what happened.

“They broke all the medical codes, when you swear on your oath,” she told CNN of the inability of her father, Navy veteran Thomas Breen, to get an appointment.

“Billions of dollars can’t fix the VA broken system,” she continued. “What’s going to fix (this) is if you criminalize people when they do wrong.”

The $16 billion measure doesn’t criminalize anybody.

It provides money to build more VA medical facilities and hire more doctors and nurses.

It includes more funds so some veterans can get health care in private facilities.

It also makes it easier to fire or otherwise discipline senior VA officials.

Congress approved the package just before going home for its August recess

A CNN investigation that started last November uncovered excessive waits for veterans seeking health care. Subsequent reports revealed secret lists kept by some VA hospitals to hide the waiting periods and other management problems.

Dozens of veterans died while waiting for care.

The crisis led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in May as well as congressional investigations.

The FBI has also joined a probe by the VA inspector general’s office. The agency watchdog is looking at allegations of wait time manipulation at 92 VA medical facilities.

Last week, the Senate confirmed Robert McDonald as the agency’s new secretary.

The former business executive has promised to swiftly carry out reforms intended to speed up care for returning soldiers entering the VA system and eliminating bogus record-keeping.

Thomas Breen died in November 2013 after being repeatedly denied care at the Phoenix VA medical facility.

A month later came a call from the VA saying he had an appointment scheduled.

“I said, ‘Really, you’re a little too late, sweetheart,'” Breen’s daughter recalled earlier this year in a CNN interview.


  • Robbie

    Again the Obama administration has corrected a situation created by Bush. Two wars and not enough soldiers caused the problems facing the VA today. Soldiers were required to pull multiple, extended tours and thousands have returned mentally and physically injured. Mission Accomplished, hostilities have ended Bush said. Try telling that to the kids that have returned to a broken, underfunded system caused by an illiterate Republican president named George W. Bush.

      • Robbie

        I asked you not to talk about my family but you continue. You have to resort to disrespecting my family because you know my posts are right and that angers you. I was wrong about one thing…I thought you were human.

  • tony

    so great and a approval rating of 42%.please explain.we all know you have plenty of time on your hands sitting on your butt all day collecting a check or are you a gov worker?

    • Robbie

      You know his approval rating was far below 50% the last election yet he easily beat Mittens Romney. The Republicans in Congress have an approval rating of19% as of yesterday. You’re right about me drawing a check. A retirement check. I can live off it because Bush ruined the economy, drove stocks down and I invested heavily while they were down. Obama came along, saved the country and I made enough to be debt free. Now people like you whine about my posts while I fish and enjoy life.

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