walbre1987 | United States
Charles Koch and Democrats discussing the topic of health care for veterans may bring up fears of tragedy and mismanagement. But is it all just a pipedream?
Dan Caldwell, a senior adviser to Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) stated,
“I think it’s safe to assume that over the next several years you will see more veterans getting their health care in the community,”
Concerned Veterans for America is an organization which billionaire Charles Koch supports. By and large, liberals dislike Koch because of his current and former support of conservative and libertarian policies. The New York Times reported that Democrats would agree with Caldwell’s statement. Aspects of the recent VA Mission Act is the step in developing a hybrid of the Veterans Administration (VA) health system with private health system collaboration.
Time to Fix Veteran’s Healthcare
The VA health system is a world by itself. It has its own computer platform. It has its own builds, clinics, and hospitals. Most everyone is a paid employee and whether there are patients or not, you are paid. The biggest criticism is the VA is a bureaucracy all by itself.
Much of the delay in veterans getting adequate health care are the concerns for the long travel to distant VA hospitals to obtain specialized care when local private specialized care is available. Also, long wait times and poorer service than what is available at local private facilities are factors. Already 1/3 of veterans appointments funded through the VA are provided at private organizations.
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine is used by opponents of privatization to show the VA care is no different than private organizations. But the authors admit that there are definite reporting differences and recommended to both the veterans administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services correct this. They are comparing apples to oranges. Many stories about veterans care and deaths do not follow the findings of the study.
TriWest Health Care is the main insurance for veterans. There is no competition for a veteran’s choice. In an article in the Military Times, it discussed the problems with TriWest’s billing. The article mentioned though TriWest will become the insurance company overseeing veteran’s community healthcare.
VA Mission Act was passed in 2018 trying to overhaul how veterans healthcare was supported. This is a $52 billion dollar law which by Congressional Budget Office estimates will get more expensive with the final price tag. The VA must look at other avenues for the care of our veterans.
Changing is hard for the VA
Change is not easy, especially for the military. In the NY Times article, Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs discusses his opinion that the switch from VA to private health providers will not be immediate. He states that most veterans like the VA system.
Federal union groups criticize any move to privatize veteran’s health. Veteran’s private health care is off limits in most discussions about the VA system. The Trump administration may be changing that. Former VA Secretary David Shulkin says he was forced out because of his concern raised during discussions about using the private health care for veterans.
But VA officials have repeatedly warned that their current footprint includes hundreds of outdated or obsolete facilities, and department administrators have severe restrictions on managing those locations.
Interviewed by the Military Times, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Representative Phil Roe added,
a “politically insulated process” is needed to fix that “massive and misaligned physical footprint” of VA.
Private Healthcare can help
Democrats concerned about the privatization of veteran care supported the VA Mission Act for providing a balance between access to health care for veterans and maintaining the VA mission. But many veteran’s groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who normally are against any privatization of Veterans Administration operations, support the VA Mission Act.
Again Dan Calwell, from Koch supported CVA, expressed support for this Act in an interview. His concern is with improving the community health programs veterans participate in along with VA health care and infrastructure.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. is quoted,
“We need private health care to fill in gaps when VA cannot provide services,” he said. “But I also know how much veterans need the services they do get from VA … The best defense against efforts to privatize VA and send veterans in a wholesale fashion to the private sector is to make sure VA is living up to its promises.”
The Situation Summed
I can give you anecdotal evidence of seeing veterans in both the VA health system and private health environments. Many VA facilities have great medical staff taking care of our veterans. They provide the best care possible. But veterans do not care about a building to get care in. They care about efficiency, which in many cases the VA system cannot provide for specialty care in most areas of the United States. They also care about cost. If I were Barack Obama, I would have corrected the Veterans Health problem first. If you can prove you can give our veterans world-class care at a great price, then you could move to a nationalized program.
Unfortunately, Veteran’s health was not high on President Obama’s list. But if an organization supported by Charles Koch such as Concerned Veterans for America and any group of Democrats are discussing the same problem and possible solution, there is hope for Veteran’s Health Care.
71 Republic takes pride in our distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.