Thursday, July 24, 2014

If you want to know what US Government-run healthcare looks like, the VA is a pretty good case study

The Veterans Administration scandal is worse than you think
dissects Benny Huang.
A report out this week from retiring Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) found that approximately one thousand veterans have died in the last ten years while languishing on wait lists. Doctors, nurses, and administrators within the system say that they faced retaliation when they spoke out about unethical practices. One VA employee in Phoenix says that deceased veterans’ medical records were altered post mortem so that it would appear that they did not die on the VA’s watch.
The VA’s biggest problem, besides dishonesty of course, is timeliness. Delayed healthcare can mean the difference between life and death, as this scandal illustrates in vivid color.

If you want to know what US Government-run healthcare looks like, the VA is a pretty good case study. I understand that some of those vets probably wouldn’t have any healthcare at all if it weren’t for this system but is that really a testament to their quality? What healthcare system would adopt as its motto, “Hey, it’s better than nothin’!”

There is an alternative to the wholly government-run model that is the VA. Vets could be given vouchers redeemable with private physicians. It might work better; it could hardly work worse.

Strangely, 31% of Americans polled this month said that they expected Obamacare to function better than the VA system. In other news, 31% of Americans are too stupid to vote.

 … Of course, Obamacare differs from the VA in that it is not a self-contained system wholly operated by the US government, or what we might call the single payer policy that liberals really wanted and may still get. They will therefore shrug off Obamacare’s faults by saying that it doesn’t go far enough. If only we allowed the government to take over healthcare completely we’d have a great system, like they do in Canada and France!
Well, no. What we’d have is a VA-style system for everybody.
While the VA scandal may be a tragedy, it is also a teachable moment. Now is a good time for conservatives to explain to the American people that we are not against universal healthcare. We are opposed to more government meddling in our medical system because our health is too important to entrust to a bunch of incompetent buffoons who destroy everything they touch.

 … Conservatives aren’t against people seeing the doctor, we just think that the government sucks at almost everything, from education to mortgage-lending to energy production. Nothing in the last decade has persuaded me that our government is anything but incompetent and corrupt.

 … We all want healthcare for everyone. The question is how to best provide it. Should we provide for our own medical care, just as we buy our own groceries? Or should we look for the generous hand of government to give it to us for “free”, no matter how crappy it is? Conservatives don’t want to prevent poor people from receiving life-saving medications or getting a yearly checkup, we simply don’t want to be trapped in the shameful system that has already killed a thousand veterans.