The scandal at the Phoenix [Veterans Administration healthcare] division involved an off-the-books list allegedly kept to conceal long wait times as up to 40 veterans died waiting to get an appointment. Officials were accused of cooking the books to hide the fact that veterans were waiting more than 14 days, the target window.
VA facilities in South Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Washington state have also been linked to delays in patient care or poor oversight. An internal probe of a Colorado clinic found that staff had been instructed to falsify records to cover up delayed care at a Fort Collins facility.
[VA Secretary Eric] Shinseki has urged officials to wait until the inspector general report is completed, as he orders a separate review, but lawmakers voiced concern that this would only lead to further delays.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called the allegations “deeply disturbing.” “We need more than good intentions,” she said, calling for “decisive action.” [Sources: Associated Press, FoxNews.com]
We’re told that health care is right, and that all American citizens (and even many who are not citizens) will be provided that care, as a right, upon demand.
Yet that provision already exists for members of the military. It has, for decades — and look at the shape the VA is in. None of this is new. It has been this way for decades. Obama is supposed to be special, different and brilliant. Yet his administration has been no more capable of delivering universal health care to the military than all his predecessors; perhaps even less so, from the sound of these reports.
The New York Times reports that approximately 1 percent of the American population is in the armed services. If the American government cannot competently deliver health care services to 1 percent of the population — a very important segment of the population, nearly everyone agrees — then how can we expect the same government to provide for the other 99 percent?
To even suggest that a free market should provide health insurance and medical care is considered insensitive, offensive and and even hateful.
Yet the facts are plain.
Veterans have no real alternative to the VA system. You don’t make a lot of money by being a member of the military. One of the perks supposed to draw people into the volunteer armed forces are the benefits.
The VA and the Obama Administration provide the usual replies. “Most veterans are happy with the service they receive.” Well, it’s either what the VA provides, or nothing. How is “satisfaction” even relevant when you don’t have a choice?
A free market in medicine would deregulate the industry entirely. It would permit the industry to function as precisely that — a business where doctors, nurses, technicians and hospitals operate competitively, for a profit. Penalties would obviously exist for objective fraud or malpractice, but beyond that the government would stay out completely.
The VA system is the ideal of single-payer applied to a small segment of the population. Observe how well it’s working out. Single-payer was the actual goal of the ObamaCare legislation. We will likely end up with that as ObamaCare provisions systematically decimate what’s left of the health insurance industry and throw more and more people on to government-run Medicaid.
The VA system is what the people giving us ObamaCare think we need. Do you still agree with them?
If we had a free market system in medicine, the vast majority of uninsured would be able to purchase lower cost services in a competitive market. The same would probably be true for members of the armed services, who could opt out of the VA system when it proved inferior to the marketplace (as it undoubtedly would).
But emotions rule over reason in America, especially when it comes to health care. Emotions over reason is always a mistake.
We won’t permit our government to allow doctors and hospitals to function as businesses. Instead, we treat them as property of the government. We claim that because medical care is so important (as it obviously is), only the government can be trusted to provide coverage and set the economic and contractual terms among doctors, third-party payers and patients.
If this is the kind of care 1 percent of the population is getting under VA care, what can the rest of us expect under ObamaCare?
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