Jon Stewart opened last night's episode of The Daily Show by taking a look at the burgeoning scandal involving malpractice at Veterans Affairs hospitals. It's the kind of thing that prompted Stewart to bring out both his giant swear jar and his "big book of assholes."
The original scandal which broke a few weeks ago involved "Phoenix VA workers falsifying patient waiting lists so it didn't seem like veterans had long waits before seeing doctors ... It was a good system, give or take the couple of scores of veterans it may have killed," Stewart explained.
But since then it's only gotten worse. As The Wire's Adam Chandler writes, "Claims that untreated veterans have died premature deaths have turned a scandal into a full-blown crisis," and "This is neither [Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric] Shinseki's first scandal nor the first for the beleaguered VA department."
Last week, Shinseki testified before Congress, claiming these "incidents" of malpractice were "isolated."
"'Isolated cases,' quarantined," Stewart said. "So that makes me feel much better, unless, and I think this is highly unlikely, a news report would air the exact same day that Shinseki was testifying before Congress, unless a news report like that says otherwise."
Oh, like the report that this sort of patient waiting list tampering was reported in at least eight states? "So, General Shinseki, by 'isolated' you meant that the problem of inadequate veteran health care was isolated to veterans," Stewart quipped.
"It's not like senior VA management in 2010 sent a memo warning regional VA directors about inappropriate practices designed to make waiting lists look shorter, except they did. Or that CBS News obtained another memo from a VA hospital explicitly outlining how and why colleagues should game the waiting list," Stewart explained.
Stewart's response: "BALLS!"
And then he whipped out his book of assholes.