WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following new developments in the Veterans Affairs health care corruption scandal, U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, the ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee, is struggling to answer questions about how the committee is only now addressing problems in the system that have been brewing for nearly a decade.
In May, a preliminary report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shocked the country by pointing up systemic delays in care for U.S. military veterans, delays that some say contributed to the deaths of former servicemen and servicewomen.
But last Wednesday, the VA Committee convened to hear new testimony regarding an alleged “white washing” of an August 26 Inspector General report focused on whether delays in patient care at the Phoenix VA facility contributed to the death of veterans. The hearing was prompted by a CBS news report in which a VA whistle-blower said the Inspector General’s report was “water-down” to conceal the fact that veterans had died as the result of secret wait lists.
In what CNN called a “stunning reversal“, Acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin contravened the position put forth in his initial report and admitted that care delays did contributed to patient fatalities. His testimony suggests that investigators may have misled Congress with regard to the severity of the VA corruption scandal.
In the wake of the VA scandal and its recent developments, Michaud, who has served on the VA Committee for the past 12 years, has found himself facing tough questions about his role in providing oversight of the VA health care system.
In June, The Maine Wire asked Michaud, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, whether he accepted any responsibility for the failures in the VA health care system. See his answer here:
Following the VA committee hearing Wednesday, he was asked a similar question. In both instances, Michaud ducked the questions, offering up only praise for the Republican Chairman of the VA Committee Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida.