Old problems remain

Leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives hope to reach agreement soon on a bill addressing the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal. Among other things, it calls for veterans to get medical treatment from the private sector if they are placed on long waiting lists by the VA.

That would be progress. But another major section of the bill, allowing the VA to expand its facilities, is part of an old pattern in Washington. It is to throw taxpayers’ money at a problem and hope it will go away.

But what of VA officials accused of keeping veterans on long waiting lists for care, then lying about it? Little has been said about consequences for them – to discourage similar misdeeds in the future.

Until that is addressed, don’t count on the VA truly improving much.