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Coburn: 'More Than 1,000 Veterans May Have Died' Thanks to VA Misconduct

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., contends that the Department of Veterans Affairs may be responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 veterans.  

"Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of the VA’s misconduct and the VA has paid out nearly $1 billion to veterans and their families for its medical malpractice," Coburn said in a statement.  

"As is typical with any bureaucracy, the excuse for not being able to meet goals is a lack of resources.  But this is not the case at the VA where spending has increased rapidly in recent years," he added.  

The latest allegation from Coburn came in connection with his office's releasing a lengthy report on problems at the VA, just as a group of House-Senate conferees are set to hold the first formal meeting to work out differences between the two chambers' VA accountability bills designed to get vets care in a timely fashion.  

Coburn has emerged as one of the leading voices on VA health issues in the Senate Republican Conference, and he has been appointed to serve on the conference committee.  

In addition to alleging widespread cost overruns, fraud and abuse, Coburn's report says that some $845 million has been paid to address medical malpractice claims since 2001.  

Coburn also contends that the Veterans' Affairs Committee in the Senate did not conduct the sort of vigorous oversight over the years in response to past reports of problems at the VA.