Bush, military, Walter Reed

Bush, Walter Reed, and semper fi

It’s interesting to watch the Bush Administration spastic reaction to problems it created, and the newest one is proving especially vexing as it involves their last remaining sacred cow: the military. More specifically, the soldier.

The medical treatment of returning soldiers has recently become a political football, but it goes back years. The Army Times cites the Government Accountability Office that

In 2001, 10 percent of soldiers going through the medical retirement process received permanent disability benefits. In 2005, with two wars raging, that percentage dropped to 3 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office. Reservists dropped from 16 percent to 5 percent.

You read that right – a mere 3% of soldiers forced to retire due to medical necessity, mostly through wounds received in combat, were given permanent disability benefits. In addition, I think that we can be well assured that the benefits handed out have been chiselled down as low as possible before being yanked from Uncle Sam’s hand. The case of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is just the most recently revealed abuse of those that serve at the behest of the Commander in Chief, going back many years, abuse that will not end at the gates of that now-famous hospital.

The Walter Reed case is a nearly classic example of how this Administration reacts to problems which are the inevitable outcome of its own actions – ask for the heads of other people. If there is a phrase that sums up the Bush/Cheney presidency it will have to be culpable deniability. In this case, the combined effects of fighting two wars on a shoestring budget and the privatization of services at the hospital, which began in 2000, can only result in one thing – firing/retiring the managers below the level of real decision-making.

I mean, after all.

I will leave you with one final quote from the Army Times:

According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed led to a precipitous drop in support personnel at Walter Reed.”

The committee’s letter also noted that Walter Reed awarded a five-year, $120 million contract to IAP Worldwide Services, which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official.

You knew those bastards had to be involved, didn’t you?

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9 thoughts on “Bush, Walter Reed, and semper fi

  1. So Fraud, you posit that Walter Reed is in fact improving? The ArmyTimes seems to disagree with this, but of course they’re representing government employees. Perhaps we should privatize the military, too?

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  2. It sounds like Fraud is blaming Bush for the problems at Walter Reed. After all, Bush is the head of the government down south. Am I misunderstanding? Or misunderestimating, perhaps?

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  3. Fraud: The article Kevvyd linked to plainly outlines that the numbers of support personnel plummeted when they privatized the contract – try reading before typing sometimes. BTW, just a quibble, Kevvyd – Walter Reed is the Army Hospital, ‘Semper Fi’ is the Marine Corps….

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  4. Nowhere does the article attempt to explain as to how privatization could have led to the bad conditions.

    The hospital is still run by the federal government, and contracting out some services is not going to give private contractors a vested interest in how a government controlled facility is run.

    We don’t have these sort of scandals in privatley run hospitals.

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  5. THE CRISIS OF THE FOR-PROFIT HOSPITAL INDUSTRY

    “multi-million-dollar fines and other features of a series of scandals that have characterized the industry for more than a decade. Long before the misdeeds of corporations such as Enron, WorldCom and Tyco International came to light, hospital companies were being prosecuted for cheating the federal government through their billing practices.

    Recent developments include a $631 million payment by industry leader HCA Inc. to settle the latest round of fraud charges brought by the Justice Department. This came just two years after the company agreed to pay the feds $840 million.

    Tenet Healthcare, the industry’s number two, agreed last June to pay $55 million to settle civil fraud charges, then saw its stock plunge more than 50 percent amid reports of a new investigation of its aggressive Medicare billing practices. The Justice Department is now suing Tenet for up to $323 million in damages. The company is also facing un uproar over a report released by the California Nurses Association which found that Tenet was taking an average markup of more than 700 percent on drugs it provided to its hospital patients.”

    Louisiana Charges Hospital with Fraud and Neglect

    Yes, they are private

    Just a couple of googled examples, for everyone’s benefit. Being run by a for-profit corporation hardly makes a hospital immune to neglect or fraud. BTW, the Walter Reed Hospital is administered by the Army’s Surgeon General’s office. It sounds like someone commenting here doesn’t support the troops! 😮 😮 😮

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