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Still Adding Insult to Injury

Earlier this year, a firestorm erupted over the treatment of wounded soldiers convalescing in the squalled conditions at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Bush administration responded to the scandal much the same way they responded to Hurricane Katrina: they spent more time searching for a fall guy than they did actually addressing the problem. And even though heads did roll over the affair, critics were not assuaged. They demanded these soldiers be afforded the treatment they have rightfully earned and the Congress has put forth numerous bills since then that sought to increasing spending for veterans health. But even to this day, Bush still threatens to veto spending that doesn't suit his liking.

As a result, conditions at Walter Reed are about what one would expect.
Months after pledging to improve veterans care, the Bush administration has yet to find clear answers to some of the worst problems afflicting wounded warriors, such as delays in disability payments and providing personalized care, investigators said.

A report by the Government Accountability Office, released Wednesday, offers the first preliminary assessment of improvement efforts initiated by the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department after revelations in February of shoddy outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The AP reports that staff shortages mean that nearly half of returning wounded veterans who are eligible for treatment don't receive any. Delays of 177 days or more for disability payments still persist. And the continued lack of a viable system for transferring medical records from facility to facility means further delays in treatment.

Back in March, President Bush said "We're going to fix the problem ... We're not going to be satisfied until everybody gets the kind of care that their folks and families expect." Six months later, they're still waiting.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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