Biden: 'We're Behind Right Now' on Veteran Healthcare

Image: Biden: 'We're Behind Right Now' on Veteran Healthcare

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 10:42 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The United States needs to improve healthcare for veterans, Vice President Joe Biden said, The Hill reported.

"We're behind right now," Biden told a crowd of veterans at the Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge, a 350-mile bike ride from Washington, D.C., to Virginia Beach, Va.. "The VA is having problems. And we got to get to the bottom of it."

Biden also said, "We have vastly expanded the eligibility of the VA going all the way back to my generation of Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange. But that is not a reason for any misrepresentation along the line."

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President Barack Obama on Monday said the government must "ensure [veterans] get the care and benefits and opportunities that they’ve earned and that they deserve."

After reporting by CNN about systemic delays in wait times for veterans to receive medical care, the Office of Inspector General launched an investigation. It began with 10 facilities and has grown to 26, according to CNN.

A whistleblower at the Phoenix VA — a retired doctor who worked there for 24 years — reported that the facility uses a "secret waiting list" to hide the number of patients awaiting treatment so that Washington will think the veterans are receiving timely care. Patients’ names are not entered into the VA computer system until their appointment is within 14 days, according to Dr. Sam Foote, the whistleblower.

Also at the cycling event, the man who introduced the vice president referenced Biden’s 2010 gaffe, when he was caught by a reporter telling Obama that signing the Obamacare legislation was a "big [expletive] deal," USA Today reported.

When he took the microphone, Biden addressed it.

"Piece of advice about that BFD stuff: Assume every microphone is on," he told the crowd.

"I just want you to know, I didn't intentionally say that. I actually turned and I said, 'Mr. President,' and I whispered in his ear. Unfortunately, I was looking in the direction of one guy who could actually read lips — not a joke. Because no one picked it up at the time, and one of the reporters read lips.

"Thank God my mother was gone, or I'd have been one dead vice president."

The gaffe-prone Biden has spurred a number of websites dedicated to his most embarrassing foibles, such as telling a wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator in 2008 to "stand up."

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