Thursday, May 22, 2014

Liberals touted Veterans Affairs hospitals as evidence government-run health care works

If liberals want to toast the Veterans medical system as an example of government-run health care done right, they are going to have to seriously grapple with its tragic failures. - Philip Klein/Washington Examiner @philipklein

As a scandal involving long delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals mounts, it's worth recalling that liberals have long touted the socialized medical system as evidence that government-run health care can work.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has penned several valentines to the Veterans Health Administration over the years. In a 2006 column, Krugman argued that the system was, “one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.”

He explained, “pundits and policy makers don't talk about the veterans' system because they can't handle the cognitive dissonance. ... For the lesson of the V.H.A.'s success story -- that a government agency can deliver better care at lower cost than the private sector -- runs completely counter to the pro-privatization, anti-government conventional wisdom that dominates today's Washington.”

...A Los Angeles Times investigation found that the problems with the system were widespread. Though the VA has touted improved wait times, the article quoted Dr. Jose Mathews, chief of psychiatry at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, as saying, “The performance data the VA puts out is garbage -- it's designed to make the VA look good on paper.”

Last September, I spent time in England researching the socialized British medical system, the National Health Service, for the Examiner's magazine edition, and encountered similar stories - of patient neglect and an unaccountable bureaucracy focused on gaming the system so they could claim to be meeting targets.

MD Congressman: Give Veterans A Choice Outside the VA System. Give Them Vouchers. [VIDEO] - Heather Smith/Daily Caller