On Memorial Day I’m writing this to protest the shabby treatment of fellow veterans and to challenge Liberal support for a single-payer health system.
“The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million Veterans each year.” It is a single-payer system and has often been held up as a model by Obamacare supporters. Paul Krugman, Vouchers for Veterans, The New York Times, November 13, 2011, put down Mitt Romney’s veterans health privatization plan by touting the VHA as a socialized medicine success story.
Two years earlier, another Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, wrote: “(The VHA) is fully government run, much more ‘socialized medicine’ than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote in 2009 that one of his favorite ideas was expanding VHA to non-veterans, and that the VHA was America’s best-functioning health system.
Nancy Pelosi was quick to blame the emerging VHA scandal on President Bush, speaking as if Democrats had no VHA responsibilities since Bush left office in 2009.
However, in 2004 the left-leaning Rand Corporation found that: “(T)he VA system delivered higher-quality care than the national sample of private hospitals on all measures except acute care ... In nearly every other respect, VA patients received consistently better care across the board, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and access to follow-up.”
The Rand Corporation reported that quality improved significantly 2007 to 2009, again during Bush’s presidency.
The VHA, like Obamacare, is another shining example of government incompetently competing with the private sector, and should be privatized. Our veterans deserve better treatment than politicians.