It’s just… wrong.
It’s SO wrong, I’m having a hard time writing about it.
Politicians want to get rid of the VA healthcare system, and replace it with a system of vouchers that veterans would use “to purchase their own health insurance in the private marketplace.”
And they’re justifying this by pointing fingers at the VA system’s waiting lists. Nevermind that the system has a severe staff shortage, with 41,500 unfilled health care positions. Nevermind the amount of medical care that veterans need, since more than one-quarter of them are disabled. The politicians say it’s all the VA’s fault, and they’re using it as an excuse to privatize veterans’ health care.
So… who’s going to profit from this?
And… how is this going to work?
Somebody – probably Congress – is going to decide how much each voucher will be worth. And then veterans will have to find their own health care. And if that health care costs more than the vouchers are worth… well, that’s not something that Congress will have to figure out.
Because by that point, the VA will be dismantled. Gone.
And it’ll just be a problem for each individual veteran… how to cover the gap between what Congress will pay, and what their health care will cost.
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Here’s what I think:
The idea of dismantling the VA healthcare system… it’s just wrong.
The thought of private healthcare corporations profiting off our veterans… it’s wrong, beyond words.
Want to know more about profits in the health industry? Start with this piece by whistleblower Wendell Potter.
Want to know more about the Koch-founded astroturf group “driving the VA scandal” for political purposes? Start here.
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This past week, two polling firms – one Republican, one Democrat – joined together to poll veterans about what they want, in their healthcare system.
The results shouldn’t be a surprise: Veterans want to keep their VA health care system – but they want it fixed, and properly staffed.
Veterans want health care providers who are specialists in veterans’ health care. They need doctors, nurses and support staff who already know about the health impacts of their military service. They don’t want to have to explain themselves – explain the circumstances and the consequences of their military service – every single time they need medical care. They want health care professionals who already know.
And veterans need 100% of their care covered. If the VA is replaced by a voucher system, that won’t happen.
You can read the full poll here. If you’ve talked with any veterans recently, none of it will be a surprise.
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This morning I am remembering particularly
- two children of a veteran who committed suicide. Suicide is one of the least-discussed “health impacts” of military service. The Veterans Crisis Line is available here.
- the veteran with PTSD who I spent time with, last weekend. Where to Get Help for Veterans with PTSD is available here.
To all of our veterans, thank you for your service.