How Socialized Medicine Harms Veterans

lucianne.com/thread/?artnum=544222

National Review:

How Socialized Medicine Harms Veterans

National Review, by Avik Roy

Original Article

nationalreview.com/agenda/56277/how-socialized-medicine-harms-veterans/avik-roy

Posted: 6/3/2010 3:18:32 PM

Michael Cannon posted a great piece on the Cato blog yesterday about the Veterans Health Administration. The VA system rarely gets mentioned in the health care debate, which is surprising: it is a homegrown demonstration of how socialized medicine works in the real world. As with the British National Health Service, the U.S. government owns all of the hospitals, and pays for all of the health care, for qualified military personnel. The resultant problems are easy to predict. As Cannon observes: The Veterans Health Administration shows how incompetent the federal government

cato-at-liberty.org/2010/06/01/if-you-like-the-va-youll-love-obamacare/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Excerpt within an excerpt:

Michael Cannon posted a great piece on the Cato blog yesterday about the Veterans Health Administration. The VA system rarely gets mentioned in the health care debate, which is surprising: it is a homegrown demonstration of how socialized medicine works in the real world. As with the British National Health Service, the U.S. government owns all of the hospitals, and pays for all of the health care, for qualified military personnel. The resultant problems are easy to predict. As Cannon observes:

The Veterans Health Administration shows how incompetent the federal government is when it comes to making medicine a patient-centered enterprise. After decades of mistreating veterans, the VHA achieved some successes in the past decade or so, such as adopting electronic medical records and improving on some measures of quality. Yet serious deficiencies remain. Today’s Los Angeles Times reports that the VA’s disability system is a nightmare for soldiers and sailors disabled in combat.

Anyone who has ever worked at a VA hospital can tell you what a terrible experience it can be. Yale-New Haven Hospital, where I did many of my clinical rotations, is far from perfect—but heading out to the West Haven VA was like traversing the Iron Curtain. The problems facing the VA system will be familiar to anyone who has dealt with the British NHS: unsanitary conditions, leading to higher rates of hospital-borne infections; rationing of drugs and procedures, leading to poorer health outcomes; and on and on.

Policymakers should consider privatizing the VA hospital system and giving soldiers generous private insurance. As Cannon suggests in an earlier piece:

It seems to me that a better approach would be to give vouchers to all personnel currently in the system, but increase pay and let private carriers insure against service-related injuries for all new enlistments and commissions. Such a system could improve the quality of care for vets. It also would give Congress, the armed forces, and the public a lot of very useful information about the costs of foreign policy decisions.

When was the last time you were in a VA Medical Center?

When I did my clinical rotations 30+ years ago the VA I went to was like what you describe. The current VA hospital is nothing like that and rivals (I would say exceeds) the largest teaching center in the state with whom they share a campus and staff.

My brother was treated for end-stage cancer at the new VA hospital and I did a masters practicum there several years ago and I have nothing but praise for the care he received and the care I saw being delivered. The VA has come a long way although there still are some outdated hospitals left like Walter Reed.

[quote="momor, post:2, topic:200612"]
The VA has come a long way although there still are some outdated hospitals left like Walter Reed.

[/quote]

Yes, I remember there were a lot of horror stories about the VA hospitals in the post-Vietnam decade. However, my experience with getting care from the VA during the past 10 years is that the employees have provided good quality and thorough medical care.

But please don't include Walter Reed in with the VA. Walter Reed is owned and operated by the US Army. The military medical system is completely separate from the VA medical system.

My 91-yr old dad spent his last three weeks at Hines Hospital, outside Chicago. He refused to go a more local "private" hospital. At Hines they have doctors from nearby Loyola Hospital making the rounds every day. Hines is considered a "learning" hospital for them. Bottom line, though, is that he received and loved the excellent care at Hines and my dad's entire family was treated in the best way possible as well.

[quote="Dale_M, post:3, topic:200612"]

But please don't include Walter Reed in with the VA. Walter Reed is owned and operated by the US Army. The military medical system is completely separate from the VA medical system.

[/quote]

You are so right. Thanks for pointing that out.

[quote="momor, post:2, topic:200612"]
When was the last time you were in a VA Medical Center?

When I did my clinical rotations 30+ years ago the VA I went to was like what you describe. The current VA hospital is nothing like that and rivals (I would say exceeds) the largest teaching center in the state with whom they share a campus and staff.

My brother was treated for end-stage cancer at the new VA hospital and I did a masters practicum there several years ago and I have nothing but praise for the care he received and the care I saw being delivered. The VA has come a long way although there still are some outdated hospitals left like Walter Reed.

[/quote]

The VA and health benifits he receives as a vetran (2 tours Vietnam) has pro-longed his life fighting pancreatic cancer. He has been in remission for 5 years now. On a parallel story my aunt (my uncle's wife) has gone through breast cancer. She works for the government. Great health plan she has. It saved her life. No rationing. No bankruptcy.

I know of 3 individuals coming back from Iraq and Afgahnistan who are in VA hospitals right now. God bless their souls. No problems at all in regards to treatment.

Very happy to hear that there are happy endings.

I did a google search: "problems veterans administration hospitals" and there are a LOT of problems. And a lot of investigations underway.

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:7, topic:200612"]
Very happy to hear that there are happy endings.

I did a google search: "problems veterans administration hospitals" and there are a LOT of problems. And a lot of investigations underway.

[/quote]

Also you can find a lot of problems with hospitals in the private sector (e.g. waiting times, costs, accidents, etc) but that is because the system is made by and run by humans. Humans are prone to mistakes.

So things must be "tweaked" now and then through persistent evaluation.

[quote="josephdavid, post:8, topic:200612"]
Also you can find a lot of problems with hospitals in the private sector (e.g. waiting times, costs, accidents, etc) but that is because the system is made by and run by humans. Humans are prone to mistakes.

So things must be "tweaked" now and then through persistent evaluation.

[/quote]

Veteran coverage is a different ballgame-completely separate from the private sector.

Another thing---if you are not around a VA hospital, those of us with retired coverage (TriCare)---the payments to doctors and hospitals-are based upon the payments to doctors and hospitals -on the same scale- as Medicare.

Here's an article from 2008, when Congress was dragging their feet-with an increase to the payments (I remember-then they pulled it out):
military.com/military-report/tricare-beneficiaries-about-to-be-turned-away?ESRC=miltrep.nl

Say what you want, but we are not around a VA hospital. My Oncologist (cancer doctor) said their Clinic limits the number of Medicare/TriCare patients---the payments just cover the cost of the meds. The other patients' insurance supplement these patients.

Of course, this was "off the record."

My husband and I pay for supplemental insurance-that goes beyond what TriCare pays-for this very reason. So we won't be turned away.

I feel sorry for the Vets who are not close to a VA hospital-whose local Hospitals have reached their saturation level of government-covered patients, and have to turn them away-in order to have room for those with private insurance-so they can continue to run.

Unless, of course, you believe all the fat cat doctors and hospitals are ripping you off.

God Bless.
+Jesus, I Trust In You.
Love, Dawn

[quote="DawnInTexas, post:9, topic:200612"]
Veteran coverage is a different ballgame-completely separate from the private sector.

Another thing---if you are not around a VA hospital, those of us with retired coverage (TriCare)---the payments to doctors and hospitals-are based upon the payments to doctors and hospitals -on the same scale- as Medicare.

Here's an article from 2008, when Congress was dragging their feet-with an increase to the payments (I remember-then they pulled it out):
military.com/military-report/tricare-beneficiaries-about-to-be-turned-away?ESRC=miltrep.nl

Say what you want, but we are not around a VA hospital. My Oncologist (cancer doctor) said their Clinic limits the number of Medicare/TriCare patients---the payments just cover the cost of the meds. The other patients' insurance supplement these patients.

Of course, this was "off the record."

My husband and I pay for supplemental insurance-that goes beyond what TriCare pays-for this very reason. So we won't be turned away.

I feel sorry for the Vets who are not close to a VA hospital-whose local Hospitals have reached their saturation level of government-covered patients, and have to turn them away-in order to have room for those with private insurance-so they can continue to run.

Unless, of course, you believe all the fat cat doctors and hospitals are ripping you off.

God Bless.
+Jesus, I Trust In You.
Love, Dawn

[/quote]

Don't you just love Congress dragging their feet playing with the health of veterans or senior citizens? Drives me nuts! We all know there need some fixing so why not fix it and be constructive about it? Too much political ideology gets in the way of actually fixing the problems which the delay only makes the problem larger.

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:1, topic:200612"]
The Veterans Health Administration shows how incompetent the federal government is when it comes to making medicine a patient-centered enterprise. After decades of mistreating veterans, the VHA achieved some successes in the past decade or so, such as adopting electronic medical records and improving on some measures of quality.

[/quote]

That they're making improvements is what really matters. The system will never be 100% satisfactory since we all die eventually, but at least we're moving forward, according to the article.

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