The Independents

Andy Levy, on his V.A. care: 'It was absolutely awful, and nothing horrible I hear about it ever surprises me'


Last night on The Independents, Red Eye co-host Andy Levy, who is a military veteran, talked bluntly about his (and his comrades') experience with the Veterans Administration. "I have yet to meet a veteran who was satisfied with their V.A. care," Levy said, in a panel segment that also included Reason Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward:

On Tuesday night's episode, National Review Online contributor Deroy Murdock also talked about the scandal:

Reason on the V.A. mess here.

NEXT: How Scalia Helped Legalize Gay Marriage in Pennsylvania

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. One interesting thing I learned in the Navy.

    Military vets tend to try to retire in places that simultaneously are near a military base with a hospital treating active duty personnel and are far from any VA facility.

    Because if that condition is met, they get to go to the military hospitals and get better treatment.

    So you have guys retiring in weird places to make sure they stay out of the VA’s clutches.

    1. That is common in all the services. My experience has been that military doctors are generally good. I have always gotten good care from them. But they are not the VA. I have never heard a good thing about the VA.

      1. My experience with Navy doctors has been they are awesome. I spent more time in sick bay for industrial accidents then John Kerry did for three Purple Hearts.

        I got my hand caught up in a crane cable and crushed the end of one of my fingers off the bone like it was a banana. After hitting me with some IV pain killer, the doc sewed my finger back on. With the exception that it is a little bit crooked. the finger is as good as ever.

        Broke my hand when I fell in heavy seas too. Heavy is too small a word for how rough it was that night – 100 knots constant, gusting to 130. The doc set that bone perfect too.

        1. I had a friend whose son was born with a serious heart problem. The Air Force doctors were fantastic and saved the kid’s life and he is a normal kid who is now 11.

    2. Very interesting.

    3. This is the problem with letting people live where they want. We have to break Americans of their choice habitation habit

    4. That’s why I opted out (and boy, was that difficult to get people to understand) of the government medical system after retiring.

      I wasn’t all that happy with my medical care *while* I was in and it would just get worse once I got out.

      My last duty station was in Yuma – they’d send me into San Diego or treatment rather than hook me up with a specialist here. Once I got out I knew that I’d end up having to go to Tucson for treatment.

      What makes that even more ridiculous – I have hypothyroidism. My ‘treatment’ consists of a blood draw to measure hormone levels once every 6 months to adjust the dosage of my prescription. Who the hell wants to drive for 6 hours (each way) for a blood draw?

      1. Is there any reason why you can’t just courier your blood to the specialist? It can’t be that hard to find someone who can handle a needle.

  2. I work for a large medical device manufacturer, and none of this information is surprising. The government screws us over on a LOT of stuff (the medical device tax costs us about 800K a month off of our top line, which for us is about 320 manufacturing jobs a year), but the one way they help us out is with their VA purchasing. The US government is our largest customer, so they have the most negotiating power of any customer. But they don’t negotiate- they’re the only facilities in the country that pay list price on every one of our products. It’s something like $4500 list price for a stent that might have an average selling price of $2000. Just absurd.

  3. Don’t worry.

    After Obama found out about it by reading a newspaper (apparently his only source of information about what his own administration is doing), he’s mad as hell and is going to get right on it.

  4. Yep – VA Hospitals absolutely suck and has since I first showed up at one in 1991.

  5. 1) The care for my brother at Wright Patt AFB hospital in Dayton, OH when he was dying from cancer was absolutely tremendous. And my brother was ARMY – they sent him there cause Fort Cambell couldn’t deal with him – Wright Patt evidently specializes (ed?) in cancer treatment.

    Those people were first rate. He was too far gone by the time he went in, so he was never going to survive – but the nurses and doctors were absolutely tremendous.

    2) My uncle (Air Force retired)…absolutely horrible VA care for AIDS. He died a couple years ago alone and miserable….I was just glad we got to get out to see him to help a little before he passed.

    My only experiences…but bolster the “active military care good, VA bad” theme I hear from others.

  6. Hell, nothing they do for veterans works. Just getting my discharge records from the National Personnel Records Center required action from my Congressman. Getting a VA loan certificate from the DC VA office required the same, because I was a reservist eligible for a VA home loan. Glad I don’t rely on that shit circus for anything medical.

  7. I have been in the VA system for 14 years now. My experience has been mostly a love/hate relationship in one respect only: in my experience the VA waits too late/too long to do anything; so I believe the wait times/lists. But when they do decide to do something they kick ass, they mostly use outside the VA system/University Specialists/Doctors and those training in some Specialist University program. Example: after three years of being sent back home, my regular Cardio VA Doc was on vacation and the civilian local Doctor filling in put me in the Hospital immediately (God was and continues to look over me, why I cannot say). Three weeks later, upon a bed finally opening up at a qualified Hospital an University of Louisiana Cardiology team performed triple bypass surgery on me. I have no doubt if my regular VA Doctor had seen me that day I would be dead now as I would have been sent home again. That was January 2004, ten years later I’m still kicking.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.