AUGUSTA – U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, the Ranking Democrat on Congress’ Veterans Affairs Committee, on Thursday refused to accept any responsibility for the corruption scandal that has resulted in the deaths of at least 23 U.S. military veterans.
Asked whether he takes any responsibility for the fraudulent scheme that now involves at least two-thirds of the nation’s VA medical facilities, Michaud, the Democratic candidate for governor, side-stepped the question and instead blamed his opponents, Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.
TMW: “Congressman, Do you take any responsibility for the scandal unfolding at the Veterans Affairs administration?”
Michaud: “That is, I’ll be working in a bipartisan manner. And, and like Chairman Miller, my Republican colleague has said, uh, that this is not a political issue and it’s unfortunate that my two opponents have turned it into a political issue and I look forward to addressing those shortcomings. Very glad that we’ve had the oversight on the committee, like the Legislature tries to have the oversight here in the Maine Legislature but it gets stopped by our Governor by refusing have the departments testify before the committee. That’s uncalled for. That’s not leadership. That’s not governing. So we’re gonna address the scandal that has happened in Phoenix, Arizona and some of the other issues. But we’re doing it in a bipartisan manner the way leadership should truly work.”
[RELATED: Veterans health care scandal threatens to derail Michaud’s campaign…]
Allegations of systemic fraud and corruption within the veterans health care system surfaced last month following a CNN investigation.
Subsequent investigation by the VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found hundreds of federal employees had engaged in a scheme to manipulate wait-lists, creating the false appearance that VA medical centers were performing better than they really were. The motivation for falsifying wait-time data reportedly stems from the VA’s cash bonus system, which rewarded employees at facilities with short waiting periods.
The manipulation of wait-time measurements and other performance data resulted in severe delays for veterans seeking care. In at least 23 instances, according to VA Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), veterans may have died prematurely as a result of delays.
Forty-two VA facilities are currently under federal investigation. According to the OIG’s report, the wait-time fraud may have occurred in up to two-thirds of all 216 veterans health care facilities across the country.
The OIG report also says the allegations of waste, fraud and corruption within the VA health care system are not new. The report states: “The issues identified in current allegations are not new. Since 2005, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued 18 reports that identified, at both the national and local levels, deficiencies in scheduling resulting in lengthy waiting times and the negative impact on patient care.”
Those 18 reports warning about problems in the VA system were delivered to the VA Committee on which Michaud has served for 12 years.
Michaud is a disgrace. He stood idly by while veterans who were forced to turn to the VA for their health care died so bureaucrats could look efficient enough to their superiors to receive a bonus. Michaud did nothing in his position as ranking Democrat member of the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee to safeguard the healthcare of men and women who risked life and limb in defense of America. And just what is his excuse for covering up his incompetence by ignoring numerous reports by the inspector general of wrong doing? I can’t make heads nor tails of his doublespeak, obfuscation and bulls*it artistry while covering his disgraceful inaction. I wouldn’t trust him to mow my lawn much less govern Maine.
Michaud is just pathetic. For someone who has always claimed to be a strong supporter of veterans, he just proved that he really doesn’t care about them. What kind of “oversight” has he done all these years as ranking member on the Veterans Oversight Committee? Apparently not much, if any at all. Shame on you Mike Michaud. Obviously you do not possess the leadership to run a kindergarten class, and you want to run the state of Maine!? No way!
What the heck did Michaud just say??? Are there any liberals here who can translate liberal gibberish into English?
Do Nothing lives up to his name again.
And before this one, there were others; more notably the WALTER REED scandal where politicians like Michaud got pampered medical treatment on the top floor, while veterans on lower levels lived in squalor.
From Jul-Sep in 2007, Michaud missed 18 of the 317 votes, an unusual spike in a voting record…any reason for this? Health? Personal? or ???
Being a member of Congress is a stewardship. So is Governing a state.
Why would sensible Mainers vote for someone in to the later with such clear evidence that he is incompetent in the former.
Governor LePage has proven to be a Great steward in doing good business for Maine families. We are a blue collar working family of four. I don’t want another mealy mouthed politician taking money out of my children’s pockets as the entire democrat party has proven to do so well-for their own gain. Please vote LePage this November.
Michuad has earned a NO vote. Do not vote for him for anything not even dog catcher-send to retirement!
Oops missed a word there –send HIM to retirement!
When the Maine Wire starts criticizing Governor LePage for all his failings then you have a chance – small, maybe, but a chance – of being taken seriously. Until then, no.
Seems we have an operative for the Marxist Maine Peoples Alliance showing up to spew nonsense.
Why is it we never hear this on the News channels in Maine ? Michaud was just say how Maine wasn’t having the same troubles as other state’s and we are the second worse. ?