Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has resigned amid the major scandal that has engulfed the department. This does not come as a shock to most since the allegations brought upon the VA are serious. It was reported that documents were forged at numerous VA hospitals across the country and over a dozen veterans passed away before receiving care for their ailments. The revelations of exceedingly long wait times goes much deeper than former Secretary Shinseki. An aging Vietnam War veteran population coupled with veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with severe physical and emotional injuries have led to this problem. Add on what many experts in the medical industry believe as a "doctor shortage" and you had a ticking time bomb that was waiting to explode.
Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune points out in his Op-ed that this problem is not a recent one but one that has been going on for at least a decade. NBC News reported in 2004 that "There are more than 300,000 VA claims still waiting to be processed. Some VA patients wait up to a year to see specialists." The resignation of Mr. Shinseki doesn't solve anything in reality. If we want to fix this problem, it will take resources, time, and an extremely thoughtful plan from the government, healthcare industry, and society as a whole.