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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 18, 2014 / 20 Sivan, 5774

Sanders/McCain VA Reform Bill a Sham

By Betsy McCaughey




JewishWorldReview.com | Congress is rushing to pass a compromise drafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, which claims to rescue vets from deadly waitlists. House and Senate leaders are conferring on a final version, congratulating themselves for bipartisanship. But in truth, the bill won't speed up health care for vets. The fine print sabotages vets wanting to go outside the Veterans Affairs system.

Last week, the VA's internal investigation revealed that 57,436 newly enrolled veterans are facing wait times of at least 90 days for a first appointment, and 63,869 vets who signed up with the VA in the past decade never got an appointment. At least 23 vets died waiting. Worse, three-quarters of VA facilities manipulated waiting lists or kept dummy books.

The Sanders/McCain bill will let the waiting and corruption continue. Yes, the bill creates a "Choice Card" permitting veterans to access civilian care if they live 40 miles or more from a VA hospital or can't get an appointment within the VA's definition of an acceptable wait time. But the devil is in the fine print.

Sanders opposed the Choice Card until the final negotiations and inserted language in the bill that would make it almost impossible to use the card. That's deliberate. Unions have fought every program to use civilian care. Nine of Sanders' top 10 campaign donors are unions.

Even Republican lawmakers are rushing to pass this sham bill. On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing, but not much hearing occurred. The reception was hostile when I testified how the bill's actual language protects union jobs, not sick vets.

Section 301 says vets seeking civilian care have to get a letter from the VA secretary confirming that a VA appointment isn't available. Good luck getting that letter. Some vets have called and emailed their local VA for six months or more without getting any response.

Hurdle No. 2 comes at the non-VA doctor's office. The Choice Card tells the doctor: "Please call the Department of Veterans Affairs phone number specified on this card to ensure that treatment has been authorized." Good luck getting that call answered.

To top it off, the bill stipulates that the choice-card program will end in two years — probably only a few hours after the VA finally gets the hotline set up and issues the cards.

In another meaningless gesture, the bill also requires the VA to publish wait times on its website. That's a white flag, not a reform. Brits and Canadians are used to seeing hospital wait times in the newspaper. But most Americans don't have to cope with long waits, so why should our vets?

Nothing in the Sanders/McCain bill puts vets in the driver's seat. They still can't escape the VA without active help from VA bureaucrats.

Guilty bureaucrats. But the bill is toothless to discipline them: Section 408 says that any employee caught falsifying data about wait times or the quality of care vets get will be subject to "a penalty the secretary considers appropriate after notice and opportunity for a hearing." No mandatory minimums.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, asked top VA deputy Robert Petzel (now resigned) whether someone caught lying about wait times should be fired. Petzel replied, "I don't know whether that's the appropriate level of punishment or not."And what if the secretary does try to fire someone? Current civil-service protections make that nearly impossible. The bill claims to shorten the process, but has a loophole (Section 409) that would allow it to drag on indefinitely.

VA managers are circling the wagons. Federal Managers Association President Patricia Niehaus insists that "it is unacceptable for anyone in Congress to call for a streamlining of firing high-level, or any level of federal employee, based simply on appearances or uninvestigated accusations." Uninvestigated? There have been numerous investigations in the last decade.

Nevertheless, the McCain/Sanders bill calls for not one but two more commissions. More reports that will go unread. At Thursday's hearing, it was obvious Veterans Affairs Committee members had not even read the bill they are hurrying to pass. But that's what Congress does. It holds hearings. It doesn't solve problems.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and the author of "Beating Obamacare." She reads the law so you don't have to.


Betsy McCaughey Archives


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