Is Congress looking at the right VA scandal?

Why should former officers be getting one standard of care and former enlisted be getting another?

Veterans Administration logoThe U.S. Senate is finally getting on the Veterans Administration's (VA) case.

Spurred by a class action suit which is now going to trial, Sen. Patty Murray has demanded the resignation of Dr. Ira Katz, the head of the agency's mental health wing.

As The New York Times reports, the agency is trying to respond, opening a hotline aimed at preventing suicides by veterans.

And this is no surprise. Whenever the VA gets a large influx of new "customers," it takes years to catch up with them. My friend Tommy Bass took decades to get into the veterans' health care system after his Vietnam service.

So there's a bigger scandal, one we alluded to here yesterday in our interview with Phillip Longman.

That is the two-tier nature of military medicine. There is one system for active duty, which former officers can access. There is another system for veterans, which serves enlisted.

Longman noted how many of those now running the VA came directly from the Department of Defense (DoD), saying they have brought their habits of procurement (as opposed to do-it-yourself) with them.

So if the DoD is running the VA, why do we have two systems? Why not combine them?

If Sen. John McCain has a recurrence of his cancer tomorrow, he could go back to the Mayo Clinic because his wife is rich.

But if he's actually the President, isn't he more likely to go to Bethesda or Walter Reed, Washington's military hospitals? If he gets sick while in Washington, isn't that where he would go now?

Why should former officers be getting one standard of care and former enlisted be getting another?

In our interview Mr. Longman indicated Sen. McCain supports "replacing the VA with vouchers." If the VA is to be replaced, why not replace it instead by extending the care McCain gets as a former officer to all our heroes?

Why should any former officer be getting better or different health care than the grunts they once commanded?

Hey, Centcom is getting a new commander. Ask him.