American Elephants

The VA Scandal Predicts What ObamaCare Will Inevitably Become. by The Elephant's Child

A health-care system run and funded by a national government has been caught covering up its waiting lists, leaving patients without care for so long that they have died before they were attended to and, worst of all, perhaps, fudging the numbers in order to make itself and its political masters look more competent. I’m from England, and I’ve seen this movie before.

That’s Charles C.W. Cooke, writing at National Review. Anyone who follows the news from Britain or any of the other countries with national health care, is aware of the problems inherent in government-run health care. ObamaCare, at present, is predicated on a system of private insurance, maintains the nations network of private hospitals, and funnels taxpayer money to subsidizing monthly premiums rather than to the reimbursement of carriers. But the Democrats always intended ObamaCare to gradually evolve into single-payer health care, or socialized medicine.

Paul Krugman, once a celebrated economist, now mostly a political hack, endorsed the principle of a government takeover of the health sector and advocated nationalizing hospitals as well. Krugman endorsed the VA as “an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it.” As a result he claimed “it’s free from the perverse incentives when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.”

One of Democrats’ core beliefs is that the federal government can be a force for good, their most basic responsibility is to make government work. Theoretically, the most basic responsibility of anyone who chooses a career in the public sector at whatever level is to make government work. Wise experts.The Best and the Brightest. Total Dedication. Not long ago the Left raved about the VA. Today it’s “Obama must fix VA scandal to redeem liberal vision of government.”How about fixing the VA scandal so no more of our honored veterans die while waiting for treatment? The “liberal vision of government” is what got us here in the first place. Here’s Paul Krugman again in 2006, during the Bush administration,  when there was no ObamaCare:

I know about a health care system that has been highly successful in containing costs, yet provides excellent care. And the story of this system’s success provides a helpful corrective to anti-government ideology. For the government doesn’t just pay the bills in this system–it runs the hospitals and clinics.

No, I’m not talking about some faraway country. The system in question is our very own Veterans Health Administration, whose success story is one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.

According to, “If you’re eligible for any level of VA care, whether it’s high-priority or low-priority, you’re no longer eligible for ACA exchange subsidies.”  There are worse things than being excluded from ObamaCare, but the VA may well be one of them.

The Veterans Administration’s health care had been a problem for years and years, probably as far back as the Kennedy administration. The question isn’t blaming, it is fixing. And it is recognizing that the current VA system is an example of where ObamaCare wants to take us.

Charles C.W. Cooke writes:

In England nowadays, when bad things happen to patients, we do not blame hospitals, doctors, and drug companies but politicians and their appointees. Those who follow Parliament are thus treated to the absurd spectacle of the prime minister being asked to comment on individual medical cases in far-flung corners of the nation. This he seems to have accepted as his role. Never does he say in response, “Why am I being asked about this?” Never does he ask whether it might be better if the state got out of the hospital business. Instead, in each and every instance, he takes responsibility and promises to look into it.

Does he do so? Rarely. Because mistakes in delivering health care are catastrophic for those seeking reelection or trying to push an agenda, politicians in Britain spend the vast majority of their time worrying about perceived rather than actual improvement. Government, by definition, has no competition, which means that those who staff it can lie and spin and cover up mistakes not just with impunity but with the full force of the state at their back. Thus do results become less important than statistics, reforms less important than spending, and patients less important than careers.

“When the government is responsible for taking care of the citizenry, their care is already a political question. Which means the response will be political. Can it be covered up, how will this affect the next election, will it make me look bad?

In the private sector, success depends on your results. If you screw up, you probably lose your job and your reputation. Happy patients mean success. It may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot more honest.

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