Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | VA | Pentagon | bureaucracy | Michael Astrue

Ex-SSA Commissioner: VA Problems a 'Pentagon Management' Issue

Monday, 19 May 2014 06:15 PM

The Veterans Administration scandal is shocking but not all that surprising, says Michael Astrue, who served as Social Security Administration commissioner under President George W. Bush.

"What happens in large government agencies is you have a culture of non-accountability and it gets cozy and people are not held accountable for failure and that's when you get these really big scandals. You get these really big disasters," Astrue told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"At the VA, they've had a culture of saying the right things at the top and then not enforcing change down through the organization,'' he said Monday.

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Allegations surfaced earlier this month that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital because of a secret waiting list they were put on.

"The VA has had problems managing its health and disability systems for a long, long time, and part of it is it's a Pentagon management [issue]," Astrue said.

"They're really not allowed to complain, and so, bad practices get imported from these generals and admirals who generally have the best of intentions but they really don't know how to manage a complicated healthcare institution or a complicated disability program.

"They're satisfied with happy talk and bottom-line phony numbers, and they also manage by the numbers.''


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