Remember in 2009 when we were arguing about the Affordable Care Act and Government intervention (and control) of health care? Conservatives tried to argue that the more Government got involved in the market the longer the waits for care would be, the worse the quality of care would be and the more expensive everything would get. They were shouted down by liberals who countered that only the Government could ensure equal access to everyone, that access would make everyone healthier and that only Government had to power to "control costs" in the system.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Veterans Administration.
The VA is complete and total Government control of health care. They own the clinics and the hospitals, they purchase and maintain the equipment, they buy the drugs, they hire the doctors and the nurses. And from what we are "learning" (or at least President Obama "just learned" by watching news reports) it continues to be an unmitigated disaster.
Veterans are unable to access the care they need. Veterans are dying because of that lack of access. Veterans can't get the prescription drugs they need. And the VA can't keep the necessary numbers of doctors and nurses on staff because they don't get paid enough. All of the arguments for Government intervention in the private health care market exposed as a bunch of BS within the much smaller realm of treating our soldiers.
President Obama is "very angry" about this. Well you know what, President Bush was "very angry" about problems at the VA during his terms too. And so were President Clinton, and the first President Bush, and President Reagan and President Carter. The VA is Example Number One of the systemic failure built into all bureaucratic Government-run entities. And the root cause of the problem is a complete and total lack of accountability at every level of the bureaucracy. By the way, if you think throwing billions of dollars more in tax money toward the problems are going to solve them--you haven't been paying very close attention the past few decades.
What is even more insulting, is that this sub-standard care is being foisted upon men and women who actually served their country. They are in need of Government health care because they got shot, or stepped on a land mine (like VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in Vietnam) or a bomb went off in their convoy, or we sprayed them with Agent Orange in the jungle, or we sent them on nine tours of duty through some of the most hellacious fighting known to man--they aren't asking for free care because they had unprotected sex starting at 14, or they can't stop doing drugs and drinking or they are "taking some time off to find themselves".
So a few years from now, when the Affordable Care Act has achieved its real goal and the private health care industry is in shambles, and a Democratic candidate for President or Senate or Congress starts talking about how the "time has come for more Government control of health care"--I want you to put yourself in the shoes of those veterans who were on the "secret waiting lists" as you head to the polling place.