The true costs of multiple wars are piling up:
The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say. The department is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall, which could affect care for many veterans.
Since the waiting-list scandal broke last year, the department has broadly expanded access to care. Its doctors and nurses have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year, while authorizing 900,000 additional patients to see outside physicians. In all, agency officials say, they have increased capacity by more than seven million patient visits per year — double what they originally thought they needed to fix shortcomings.
But it still wasn't enough, because politicians in Washington still haven't grasped the fact that 2 of the 3 longest wars in our country's history were fought in this (the 21st) century. Even asking the VA to "project" how much money they will need next year, the year after, etc., is an exercise in futility. And as long as Republicans play their budget-cutting game and push privatization schemes, the VA will continue to struggle to keep up with the demand: