The problem with the U.S. Veterans Affairs giving inferior and delayed care to veterans is a good window into the future of Obamacare. Both the VA and Obamacare suffer the endemic problems of a government-run single-payer system (aka socialism) -- no choice of doctors or hospitals, no insurance companies, broken promises, lengthy waits and bureaucratic cover-ups.
Before President Barack Obama was elected, we were assured by experts writing in the mainstream media that the VA was a U.S. health care leader and a model for the country. The New York Times oracle Paul Krugman wrote in 2011, "Yes, this is 'socialized medicine,' but it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of U.S. health care more broadly."
Obama made a lot of big campaign promises about the VA to reassure veterans. The VA scandal is now embarrassing front-page news that he can't ignore, but he continues to pretend that there is no systemic problem in the VA system.
Now we hear that the VA maintains hidden "waitlists" for at least seven veterans hospitals. That's exactly what critics of Obamacare predicted will happen with a government-run health care system.
The length of the secret waiting list at the VA system in Arizona is a shocking 1,400 to 1,600 patients, and at least 40 veterans have died at the Phoenix VA hospital waiting for a vital treatment. Some VA patients have waited as long as 21 months to see a physician, despite the VA claim that it was meeting its goal to allow a delay of only 14 to 30 days for a patient to be seen.
"Choice" is a favorite word with many liberals, but the VA problems are proving that our choices about medical care are rapidly narrowing. There are fewer plans, fewer doctors and fewer hospitals in every approved plan.
Some assert that there are more than 344,000 claims for veterans' care that are waiting to be processed, and it takes an average of 160 days for a veteran to be approved for health benefits. The system has deteriorated so badly that suicides by patients and by staff have become a problem.
We hear that some VA employees maintained secret lists and falsified data in order to conceal the wait times and hide the long delays veterans faced before seeing doctors. Nevertheless, the organization Open the Books reports that 12,549 bonuses totaling over $8.8 million at seven troubled facilities have been paid out to reward VA employees.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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