One of the first things I did after the VA story broke was call the VA's phone number for health care information. At once, I entered a Kafkaesque world of confusing phone options and recorded web addresses I was supposed to visit instead of calling on the phone. ("Just go to 'V-A dot gov forward slash health benefits forward slash cost forward slash inquiry forward slash we're about to hang up on you dot html.'") Now civilians everywhere are getting an idea of what veterans go through to try and get an appointment at the VA.
There are so many issues wrapped up in this VA scandal. (Yes, I think we finally have a real live scandal.) What was behind all of this excess demand for the VA? Do those reduced wait times the VA reports actually mean anything? What was the name of the guy put out to pasture for giving an accurate troop estimate in the event we invaded and occupied Iraq? No matter how hard we try, we just can't shake these wars.
It's a scandal and a tragedy that veterans in the United States are forced to wade into a world of secret lists and substandard care. The true cost of war keeps rising in ways that are completely predictable. Enjoy the cartoon and if you have a VA experience, positive or negative, post it in the comments!
[female phone tree voice]
Welcome to the Veterans Health Administration. If you need immediate care, press one. [beep!]
Congratulations. Your appointment will be in approximately [fourteen] days . . . after [two-hundred-eighty] days on the secret waiting list.
The health of the [Veterans Administration] is important to us, so be sure to [shred] any stressful [evidence] of uncomfortable [wait times].
To hear about reduced wait times over the past two years, press three.
To hear a presidential candidate campaign to fix the VA, press oh-eight. [beep! beep!]
To receive a transcript of Congressional Republicans killing twenty-one billion dollars in medical, educational and other veterans' benefits, press eight-six. [beep beep]
If your injuries were sustained during a slip and fall as Republicans drooled over an effective campaign issue, press one four.
If your condition resulted from a war started on a lie, press one. During a surge, press two. During drawdown, press three. [beep]
To hear a [mad-as-hell] VA Secretary, press seven. To hear a [mad-as-hell] Commander-in-Chief, press nine.
For adjectives of outrage, press star-nine. Irate metaphors, press star-seven.
If you experienced Americans supporting our troops going into war, press one.
If you experienced Americans supporting tax cuts and blaming everything on big government, press four. [beep! beep!]
To access the VA Inspector General's report on falsified data and secret waiting lists, press three.
Thank you. Your wait time is approximately [sixty-seven] days.
If, after listening to all of these options, you are a frustrated veteran in more desperate need of health care, press five. [beep beep beep beep!]
We thank you for your service. Goodbye.