Lessons from the VA
This is a joke, of course. But it brought to mind this more serious article published in the New York Times on January 27, 2006:
Walter Reed Highlights Need for Universal Healthcare
Democrat presidential contender Sen. Hillary Clinton today decried the allegedly poor conditions, stifling bureaucracy and negligent care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and throughout the VA healthcare system, but added,“Just think how bad it would be if it weren’t a government run system.”
As military patients and their spouses testified before a Senate panel about vermin-infested, moldy rooms, neglect and miles of red tape, Sen. Clinton told reporters, “This crisis serves only to highlight our desperate need for a tax-funded, government-managed universal healthcare system for all Americans.”
“When I’m president,” she said, “I’ll give the average American the same excellent quality of care we now provide for our nation’s heroes…but without the rats, mold and bureaucracy. I’ll sign legislation outlawing that kind of inefficiency, mismanagement and public employee apathy.”
Health Care Confidential
By Paul Krugman
American health care is desperately in need of reform. But what form should change take? Are there any useful examples we can turn to for guidance?
Well, 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.