Why don’t we expand VA health system?

That question from the Des Moines Register

By Jack E. Lohman

The simple answer is “The VA system works, and works well, and the last thing in the world the insurance industry wants is something that works well! And the industry helps fund the political campaigns, thus owning our politicians, so they win and you lose!”

And yea, a VA-for-all system *IS* socialized medicine, just like Britains. We should be so lucky.

Not even the conservatives could argue against this as a public option. Choice is what conservatives stand for, and if a citizen/patient “chooses” the VA system … and pays for it… how could they argue? And if we allow employers to opt into the system — at cost — how could they argue?

Well, if “they” is the conservative public, there will be no argument. But if “they” are the politicians that receive cash bribes from the insurance industry that would be sidelined in the process, you can be assured that there will be massive political opposition.

Unfortunately, health care has fallen into this black hole controlled by our corrupt political system.

Importantly, coming with a VA-for-all system would be the VA’s VistA patient database system that’s one of the best in the world. Doctors must be able to see how other doctors treated patients and their outcomes. Maximum security can be provided using two passwords.

As well, physicians at the VA are salaried and do not get paid on the basis of how many tests they perform or patients they admit, whether needed or not. But they are paid well. Though heavily burdened at the moment, because of troops coming home with medical cares, it is an excellent system. Ask the troops.

Do the math…

Pretend that we “privatize” the VA system, as I am sure is on Paul Ryan’s to-do list. And we add the high CEO salaries and benefits and shareholder profits and campaign contributions (yea, politicians get a piece of the action when privatized). The result will be at least a 20% increase over government costs. Make sense?

And interestingly, even with a VA-for-all system the U.S. would remain in the bottom third of taxed countries.

Source HERE and another excellent article VA offers lessons for U.S. health care

Thanks to Dr. Don McCanne for this link. And if you don’t get his daily email, you are missing a lot. Please sign up at his link.

5 Responses to Why don’t we expand VA health system?

  1. Eugene Barufkin says:

    The first and easiest item is – Void the “No Bid” statutes that prevent Medicaid & Medicare from negotiating Rx purchases from BIG Pharma. This one issue alone would save 100’s of millions of tax payer dollars.
    The comparison of the Rx costs for the VA and Medicare & Medicaid have been made many times. This is not a pie-in-sky estimate without piles actual data, like so much other unfounded political gobbley gook rhetoric.

  2. I agree 100%, Eugene. However, the pharmaceutical industry wants no part of extending the 50% discounts they give the VA system, and they are major funders of the political campaigns. So here we are again. I could accept most anything our politicians did if I knew that cash bribes were not changing hands in the process.

  3. And I’d have to add that we — every American — is ALREADY paying for a single-payer VA or Medicare-for-all system; we just aren’t getting it. Because the third party middlemen (the insurance industry) is draining 20% of our healthcare costs without ever laying hands on the patient. If we were smart — note the operative word *IF* — we’d spend that money instead on extending healthcare to those that are unemployed or uninsured. But instead our politicians would rather that we send it to the industry via higher priced consumer products and such.

    Reminds me of my favorite quote: “America will always do the right thing, but only after everything else fails.” Winston Churchill

  4. Hank says:

    How about a one-page health care bill in 2012 that reads:
    “The minimum age of 65 for enrollment in Medicare is hereby repealed.”

  5. I’d sure buy that!

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