Two stories about the problems at the Veterans Affairs. Both come with numbers, if not faces, attached.

First, as Dennis Wagner of USA Today reports, Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson has disclosed that, at the VA’s troubled Phoenix facility:

… at least 18 Arizona veterans died while awaiting doctor appointments, though it remains unclear whether the delayed care is to blame for those fatalities.

Also, as Leo Shane III of Military Times reports:

At least 37 Veterans Affairs whistleblowers have filed complaints accusing supervisors of seeking retaliation for their reports of improper scheduling practices and other threats to patient care, the Office of Special Counsel announced Thursday.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Bernie Sanders and John McCain have reached a deal on legislation to reform the VA. As Martin Matishak of The Hill reports, the legislation:

... gives the VA secretary expanded powers to fire poorly performing individuals, would allow some veterans to seek outside health care and would hire more doctors.

If there is any upside to this story, then it would be how seriously, and quickly, Washington seems to be reacting.

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