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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hill Again Awards Golden Fleece to VA

The Golden Fleece Award
ARRA News Service: Congressman French Hill (R-AR) again named the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as the latest winner of the Golden Fleece Award for wasting over $10 million on ‘unwarranted medical reexaminations for disability benefits.’

“Giving unnecessary, redundant examinations is not only a waste of taxpayer dollars, but it also takes away resources from those who actually need them,” said Hill. “The VA can do better. That’s why I have four full-time veterans on my staff to assist our heroes with the care and benefits they’ve earned. This kind of careless, wasteful spending cannot be tolerated. Every government agency must be judicious in how they use taxpayer dollars, and the VA should be held to an even higher standard, as they’re entrusted to assist our nation’s heroes with their essential needs.”

In the letter to the Administrator of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Seema Verma, Congressman Hill wrote:The Honorable Robert Wilkie
Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20420-0001

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

I write today to inform you that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is this month’s recipient of my Golden Fleece Award. I am awarding this to VA for its waste of over $10 million on unwarranted reexaminations.

According to a recent report by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) spent an estimated $10.1 million on unwarranted reexaminations from March 2017 through August 2017. Further, OIG estimated that VBA would waste an additional $100.6 million over the next five years unless it ensures that VBA employees only request reexaminations when necessary.

According to VBA policy, employees can request reexaminations for veterans when there is a need to verify a current disability. However, before requesting a medical reexamination, VBA policy requires a Rating Veterans Service Representative to review the veteran’s claims folder and determine whether a reexamination is needed. The OIG report estimated that 78 percent of unwarranted reexaminations lacked a pre-exam review. This is unacceptable, and VA must do better.

The OIG report includes recommendations to address this issue, and I urge you, in your new role as VA Secretary, to review this report and work to adhere to the VAOIG’s recommendations to ensure that critical funds for our Nation’s veterans are not wasted on these unwarranted reexaminations.

Should you require any additional authority from Congress to address these concerns, I urge you to notify us as soon as possible. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to working with you to address this important issue.

Sincerely,

French Hill
Member of Congress
About the Golden Fleece Award
Every year, Congress appropriates trillions of dollars to fund the federal government, and every year the federal government wastes portions of these funds in unconscionable ways. As a Member of Congress, and as a taxpayer, this frustrates me to no end. In an attempt to increase accountability for every single government program, Congressman Hill decided to bring back the Golden Fleece Award.

Originally introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin William Proxmire in March 1975, the Golden Fleece Award was a monthly bulletin on the most frivolous and wasteful uses of hardworking taxpayers’ dollars. The Golden Fleece Award became a staple in the U.S. Senate during this time, and Senator Robert Byrd once stated that the awards were “as much a part of the Senate as quorum calls and filibusters.”

In reviving this idea, the Golden Fleece Award will again have the opportunity to serve as an important reminder to taxpayers about the need for necessary, commonsense reforms to our federal spending.

Tags: Congressman, French Hill, R-AR, again awards, Octorber, 2018, Golden Fleece Award, VA, Veterans Affairs, wasting over $10 million, unwarranted medical reexaminations, disability benefits, veterans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:45 PM - Post Link

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