On Monday’s broadcast of “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer was not optimistic that Democrats in Washington, D.C. would learn their lesson from the Veterans Affairs hospital scandal and the fallout from it, particularly with regards to ObamaCare.
Partial transcript as follows:
KRAUTHAMMER: I think the administration has to make a distinction between punishing the miscreants who are responsible, a, for the delays and, b, for the lies, the cover-ups, the destruction of evidence about it, but on the other hand, simply helping the vets who have been waiting forever.
And they say we — you know, we have to — the president says we have to get the results of the investigation. Yes, for the punishing of the miscreants, but for not helping the people who need help. There’s no question in the absence of a new investigation that there are vets who have been waiting 15, 30 days, or months without treatment. So you should be acting on that immediately.
I am simply stunned that they have taken this much time to do anything active about the people who are still on the waiting list. It turns out that the VA has had the authority to issue the vouchers or whatever the system is to allow a vet who has been waiting forever to go out and get the care, the private care. They should have done that on day one when the scandal broke. The idea that you have to have an I.G. investigation, other investigations, even FBI investigation is irrelevant. The president says apparently he was madder than hell about this, but then when he makes this speech, he talks about these alleged incidents. How can you be mad as hell at allegations? It’s just not consistent. It’s like him saying I discovered all this in newspapers and I’ve been working on it for six years.
BREAM: On the Hill, we’ve talked about there’s bipartisan outrage, several measures that have been introduced, some initial votes that are happening. George, you mentioned the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, do you think he moves forward in the House, because they haven’t cooperated a lot? There are a lot of House bills sitting there in the Senate waiting for a vote. Do you think this will be the kind of issue that will unify both sides?
WILL: Yes. You’ll get some votes on common ameliorative measures. But again, we’re missing the point here if we do that. This comes at the end of six particularly intense, instructive months that began in October with HealthCare.gov. It’s a teachable moment about the actual scope and proper competence of government. And we have to back off and say, look, we’re trying to do things we don’t know how to do, such as deliver health care. The private sector is prodigiously talented at doing that.
KRAUTHAMMER: But the chances of Democrats learning that lesson are zero. The lesson has been learned over and over again since the beginning of the war on poverty, delivering services. We’ve spent trillions of dollars on this, and we’ve made the problem worse. I agree with you entirely. If there’s any evidence that a government-run health care system is disaster, it’s here. It’s rationing. It’s wait lists and corruption and laziness, as you get when people are salaried rather than working in the free market. But this is a lesson that’s been out there forever. And one of the reasons I suspect because otherwise I can’t understand it, is why the Democratic administrations have been so slow in issuing the vouchers or allowing the vets to go outside the system is purely ideological. It’s an admission of a mere truism.
WILL: I’m not looking for Democrats to have a “Road to Damascus” moment. I looking for the voters have one, and we’ll get a chance to speak on this this fall.
KRAUTHAMMER: I hope they do.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor