Instead of continually having them be treated at poorly run, ineffective, unacceptable government-run ‘healthcare’ facilities?
If private companies had mismanaged outpatient care for veterans the way the V.A. system has, there would be strong calls from all the usual quarters for a government takeover, and proclamations of how we can’t trust “greedy” for-profit companies to take care of veterans. Funny how this thought process doesn’t seem to work in reverse, except among “free market ideologues,” who have been criticizing the V.A. for years.
Jason at Countercolumn notes that this isn’t new news, except now it’s being reported by a major media outlet where it’s getting a lot more coverage than it has before. I’ve personally heard of examples of the VA’s shoddy healthcare system for years, but usually all you get from Congress is a lot of posturing, flag-waving, ‘outrage’, and money-throwing. And watch, after all the hearings are over and all the firings, retirements, and replacements occur, Congress will get back to doing what they do best: throwing money and rhetoric at something that is best handled by the private sector and should have been handled that way all along.
PM Update: A reader who is a Vietnam vet wrote in:
The quality of treatment one receives at a military medical facility often depends upon the luck of the draw, and where you happen to be located (geographically speaking). As is the case in the civilian healthcare world, there are cutting edge facilities staffed by talented personnel, and then there are “others.” My own personal experience with (active duty) military med facilities is a mixed bag, ranging all the way from “shameful” to “adequate, but certainly nothing to crow about.” I cannot comment on VA hospitals (which are a different animal entirely) -as I have never been treated in one.
I am (like many others) unhappy at the sight of rundown buildings, etc, at Walter Reed. But then, I saw lots of that kind of thing thirty-plus years ago when I was still in uniform. So I am hardly surprised.
As to any congressional hearings that may arise from the Walter Reed story, I figure to be extremely skeptical. Most of the sitting members in the House and Senate that I hear squealing the loudest have been in D.C. for many years. If the state of military medicine and healthcare facilities were really important to them, we’d have heard something from these “servants of the people” long before now. But as I see it, it’ll just be another photo op, and little else.
To be perfectly honest, I’d be thrilled if military hospitals ceased to exist and the patients were farmed out to specialty medical facilities in the civilian sector. As you know, we have (in this country) some of the finest ER/trauma/surgery/etc hospitals as exist in the entire world. I think our soldiers/sailors/airmen would be served at least as well through them as they are through existing military hospitals. Granted, it can’t all be “outsourced,” since we’d still have to maintain frontline med units to evacuate and provide immediate care to those taken right from battlefields. But I think it’s high time we considered different ways of providing essential care for our people in the military services.
We can certainly do better than our record suggests. “Because it’salways been done that way” is NOT a good reason.