“The VA is a government jobs program that incidentally provides health care.”
“The real scandal is that the VA considers a 14 day wait to be very satisfactory. Throughout the private sector, wait times are measured in hours and not in days.”
Following are some other more salient causes of the VA problems, although all are readily explainable by the theories of public choice economics.
- In some VA clinics physicians see only one-eighth (12.5%) as many patients per day as in private practice. Each day the operating rooms are shut down by 3:00 PM. The VA is essentially a government jobs program that just happens to provide some health care – after patients wait 145 days and provided it is before 3:00 PM.
- The VA is 70% unionized with over 200,000 unionized workers. Obama and the Democrats put the wellbeing of unions above veterans. Public sector unions have hijacked the VA for their own aggrandizement.
- Union work rules and seniority cause serious problems as, inter alia, unions have squelched outsourcing VA patients to reduce the backlog because outsourcing is a direct threat to union jobs.
- VA scheduling software uses a DOS operating system – found only in museums – and 1990s era computers.
- As to be expected, waste, fraud and abuse are endemic given the vast amount of funds and no accountability.
- The wait time (Phoenix) to see a physician was 145 days from when a patient requested an appointment; much longer counting the entire process. The real scandal is that the targeted wait time (considered satisfactory) was 14 days. In much of the private sector, wait time is measured in hours, not days. In the early 1990s Kaiser Permanente had a 55 day wait but changed to same day scheduling. Within a year they reduced the wait time to one day.
“Worst of all, the VA is a precise microcosm and road map for ObamaCare. What is harming 25 million veterans today soon will afflict all 315 million Americans. Some, perhaps many, of us will die while waiting 145 days or more for an appointment.”
The real solution, dear readers, will never happen. There is little or no raison d’etre to have a separate health care system for veterans; this makes no more sense than having a separate medical system for any other profession or line of work. To the limited extent veterans may need certain highly specialized care (such as for prosthetics), this could be accomplished via a small number of – preferably private – facilities. Care of veterans should be integrated into the civil health care system much the same as Medicare. At the very minimum, all acute care shoud be privatized and voucherized, with the VA maintaining only rehabilitation and long term care facilities. Following are the main takeaways:
- There is no logic for a separate VA health care system; it must be completely or mostly integrated into the private economy – especially the acute care portion.
- The VA problems can never (and will never) be fixed because government is incapable of such fixes.
- Liberals and Democrats never fix anything – real fixes are not important; all that counts to them are intentions.
- Everything is predictable and explainable by reference to public choice economics.