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Senior Advisor

The problem with the VA

The "man " is too big.



The VA story is about something much larger: systemic corruption at one of our biggest federal agencies. The Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 300,000 people and has an annual budget that’s increased from $98 billion in 2009 to more than $153 billion today. Of those 300,000-plus workers, a stunningly low number are primary-care doctors — 5,100. And though the VA’s budget has increased almost 60 percent in the past three years to keep up with an increase of almost 50 percent in patients, the number of VA doctors has increasedby only 9 percent.

Small wonder that there are long waits; bureaucrats and administrators don’t treat patients.


That’s why this story is so much bigger than one man’s fall by way of Watergate. This story is not about what departed VA secretary General Eric Shinseki knew and when he knew it, or about what President Obama knew — or should have known. It’s about federal bureaucracies and how they too often serve themselves instead of their customers.