Fox News host Sean Hannity smeared the Obama administration when he claimed that it wouldn't take immediate steps to provide medical care for veterans that were reportedly kept off an official waiting list in the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. In reality, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki ordered the 1,700 veterans to be immediately triaged for care after an Inspector General (IG) report found that they were not on an official waiting list for medical care, a fact that even FoxNews.com reported.
On May 28, the VA Office of Inspector General released a preliminary report on its investigation into allegations that veterans died due to the manipulation of appointments and wait lists. The report found that at least 1,700 veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment or placed on a waitlist at the Phoenix, Arizona VA medical center. It included the following recommendation:
We recommend the VA Secretary take immediate action to review and provide appropriate health care to the 1,700 veterans we identified as not being on any existing wait list.
When Sean Hannity mentioned this report on his Fox News show Wednesday night, he was quick to suggest that the administration would not take action to get these veterans needed medical care:
HANNITY: Why isn't there more urgency if these guys need health care that we promised them after serving the country, where is the 1-800 number that they can call and get immediate assistance so that more people don't die? Where is the group of doctors that would assess the -- on a need basis, who prioritize, who gets taken care of first? That's what I think I would do if I were president, which would never happen. But that seems to be the common sense answer. The president said he's going to investigate.
But Hannity's allegation ignores an important fact: After calling the report's findings "reprehensible," VA Secretary Shinseki ordered the 1,700 veterans to be immediately triaged for care, a fact that even FoxNews.com reported:
Shinseki, in his statement, said he's ordered the Phoenix system to "immediately triage" each of the 1,700 veterans in order to "bring them timely care."