Saturday, May 03, 2014

VHA Revisited

Advocates of government-run healthcare often point to the veterans health system as a prototype.  For example, Paul Krugman wrote a while back:
that brings me to Mitt Romney’s latest really bad idea, unveiled on Veterans Day: to partially privatize the Veterans Health Administration (V.H.A.).  What Mr. Romney and everyone else should know is that the V.H.A. is a huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform.
So this story from CNN (hardly a right-wing news source) caught my eye:
At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.  The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources. For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care.
Maybe privatization would solve the problem.  If veterans had vouchers that they could take to competing healthcare providers, they would likely not have had to wait as long.