It’s Really not About Actual VA Healthcare

Here are some selected “Chickens Coming Home to Roost” statements on a different issue quite heavily in the news. These quotes are from high profile liberals lauding the VA healthcare system:

Paul Krugman in 2011 wrote of the VA’s “huge success story”:
“Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.

Krugman added, “Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine’…But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.”

Similarly, Nicholas Kristof of the Times wrote in 2009: “Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It 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-effectiveelements in the American medical establishment.

Last year, Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton wrote in the NY Times: “Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the V.A. health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans? Or do they just not care about them?

Or try the RAND Corporation: “If other health care providers followed the V.A.’s lead, it would be a major step toward improving the quality of care across the U.S. health care system.”

Then there’s Ezra Klein, who wrote in the Washington Post in 2009 that “expanding the Veterans Health Administration to non-veterans” was “one of my favorite ideas.”

Jonathan Golob of The Seattle Stranger has written in the same vein: “Every time I read about a Teabagger ranting about how socialized medicine will destroy this country I think of the VA system. There it is, a huge and vastly important universal healthcare system—government run, single payer and therefore socialist—right here in the brave and privatized United States: The Veterans Affairs hospitals.”

Just days ago President Obama said this,
Some of the problems with respect to how veterans are able to access benefits they have earned is not a new issue but an issue I was working on when I was running for the U.S. Senate.”

Let’s be perfectly clear. The reason over 26 VA facilities are being investigated is not over the quality of the healthcare being delivered but over the administration of delivering it. In general veterans are satisfied with the treatment they are receiving but not with the bureaucracy involved within the system. Add to that the ‘cooking of books’ and political interference to make bureaucrats look good while not delivering, and you have the antithesis of what those quoting the virtues of government run healthcare above are extolling. Also in direct contridiction to those applauding the government run VA system, the President points out this has been a problem before, and at the same time, these statements were being made.

If allowed to stand as is, this is the future of Obamacare multiplied many times. We’re comparing a relatively small system of 8 million in the VA to hundreds of millions under Obamacare.


  1. I’m pragmatic; there’s always a middle ground to be found; perhaps the VA system needs house cleaning.

    I would say the Federal Government worked most efficiently and best, by far, after Al Gore instituted “reinvention of Government” during the Clinton Era. These gains were reversed when GW Bush took office. This wasn’t partisan, but, when a new administration takes over, new administrators are appointed, and they can only hope to look effective by making changes; so perhaps that buttresses your points, over time, about bureaucracy.

    However, you’ve searched a long way back for your editorial positions, and perhaps the need for VA services in those days was less urgent. One could argue the invasion of Iraq was completely unnecessary and has later stressed the VA system in recent times.

  2. In the private sector, one deals with cramped budgets and demand spikes frequently.

    No matter how you slice it, falsifying records is unethical and a fireable offense.

    The fact the left tries to rationalize it is disgusting.