The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Paints Comedy Face on Veterans’ Tragedies.
On The Daily Show, the acclaimed and serio-comic fake news show on Comedy Central, host Jon Stewart returned from a summer-long break and wasted little time slamming the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Stewart’s on-point diatribe would be so funny if it weren’t so true, and so tragic.
“Good news,” Stewart announced. “Finally the [VA claim] backlog is shrinking, it is down 20 percent. They’re making progress. But cutting into backlog of VA benefits isn’t always beneficial…”
Bonus Paid to VA Executive
Stewart proceeded to lambast VA for giving out huge bonuses to executives in such places as Pittsburgh, where Veterans had Legionnaires’ disease and VA officials kept it quiet for a year – until five patients died.
After a two-month investigation the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in February determined that 22 men were sickened and five of them died during the outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA. The CDC traced the outbreak to contaminated tap water at Pittsburgh VA campuses in Oakland and O’Hara.
The VA’s inspector general found the Pittsburgh VA failed to prevent the outbreak. Just days after that finding the man who oversees that hospital, Michael Moreland, was given a $62,895 service award for saving the government money on a hospital construction project and for starting a new infection prevention program.
As Stewart lamented, “The Pittsburgh hospital slogan is: You won’t die with the disease you came in with!”
Buffalo VA Hospital
Stewart noted that the Buffalo VA Medical Center exposed patients to hepatitis because of accidental reuse of insulin pens. At the same time this was happening David West, the man in charge of overseeing the Buffalo hospital, was reportedly given nearly $26,000 in executive performance bonuses.
Stewart, who stated correctly that $97 million in bonuses were given to executives at VA during a time when the backlog grew and patients at these VA facilities were getting unnecessarily sick and even dying, summed it up with appropriate cynicism.
“When you go to an American hospital,” he said, “you should not require more courage than storming the beach at Normandy” on D-Day during World War II.