The mainstream media is part of the conspiracy to kill the VHA. Six major corporations own 90% of the mainstream media: General Electric, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Not only are some of these companies in the healthcare business, but they have interlocking boards of directors with other corporations that are.
The corporate mainstream media can be counted on to sensationalize any scandal, real or imagined, at the VHA. They can also be depended on to not cover any good news about the VHA, such as the Rand Corporation study. None of the mainstream media outlets covered the demonstrations of veterans across the country for "Veterans Say No to Privatization".
All veterans and their families should have access to VHA
The politicians, capitalists, and patriots all say they love veterans. It is a lie meant for war propaganda and to brainwash the public. Wars are for profits, and the soldiers and veterans are cannon fodder. As Henry Kissinger infamously said:
"Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy".
Kissinger's slip of the tongue was one of those moments when a power elite told the truth. Not willing to be sacrificial pawns of US foreign policy themselves explains why so many warmongering neocons are chickenhawks.
All US wars have been based on lies. US foreign policy and war goals are to protect the interests of US corporations. Wars are not fought in the interest of the American people. Wars are how capitalism raids the resources of the world for profiteers. Wars make the American people less safe, not more.
Historically, veterans benefits were always viewed by the power elite as handouts. After wars, veterans' benefits are usually cut, as Ronald Reagan did in 1987.
Now with the US in perpetual war, veterans' benefits are seen by the power elite as a necessary part of war propaganda, but still as just handouts to be snatched away if peace ever comes. Even for current era Gulf War veterans, 80% of their claims for Gulf War associated illnesses are denied. In 2016 the VHA had its budget cut by $690 million, depriving about 70,000 veterans of VHA care.
As it is, of the 20 million living veterans from all wars, only about half qualify for access to the VHA. There is a priority system for qualifying for access. Those veterans with a permanent disability from their military service are in a top priority. For those with less than a 50% service-connected disability they must pay copays for VHA healthcare. The copays are set by Congress, and are charged to veterans because of the mentality that VHA benefits are a handout.
Of the 10 million veterans that do not qualify for access to the VHA, it is estimated by the National Institute of Health that about 2 million have no access to healthcare coverage whatsoever. The immediate family members of all veterans generally do not qualify for access to the VHA, either.
So, while the VHA provides excellent care for many veterans, there are many gaps where large numbers of veterans and their families are not eligible. In a rational world where the VHA is recognized as the best healthcare alternative, has the best medical outcomes, and does so at the lowest cost, then it would make sense to expand it to all veterans and their families.
Capitalism is not rational. It has only one priority, and that is profits. Best medical practices, patient outcomes, and helping people do not fit the capitalist mold. It is no mystery why making profits and the practice of medicine are a conflict of interest. Under socialized medicine there are less conflicts of interest that put other interests ahead of providing healthcare.
Since VHA is not profit driven, it can focus on conservative medicine. As the Hippocratic Oath says, "do no harm", and it is a guide to VHA. Unnecessary tests and procedures expose patients to harmful radiation and have other long-term risks.
Unnecessary surgeries and hospitalizations increase the risk of errors, infections and other complications. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients die every year due to medical errors and malpractice. It may be higher when deaths from unnecessary treatments and medications are included.
Unnecessary surgeries, procedures and tests are recognized as a serious problem by the National Institute of Health,:
"Patient safety in surgery has historically suffered from a lack of physician-driven initiatives aimed at recognizing, preventing and mitigating medical errors and surgical complications"This unrecognized problem has escalated so far that medical errors currently rank as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States"What do we mean by unnecessary surgery? We define this as any surgical intervention that is either not needed, not indicated, or not in the patient's best interest when weighed against other available options, including conservative measures".
It deserves repeating with emphasis: Medical errors currently rank as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. A study at Johns Hopkins confirmed the results of the NIH study.