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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/14/19

The Veterans Health Administration is the Best Healthcare Anywhere!

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Imagine a system that reduces medical errors, thus saving lives. VHA has done it by following proven conservative medical practices, instead of the profit motive. When the VHA's preventive medical care is included, then the superior outcomes of the VHA are even higher than studies show.

How privateers are trying to destroy VHA Healthcare:

Highly publicized isolated scandals at VHA open the door for privateers to claim that VHA is a broken system. While nothing could be further from the truth, the media and bribed politicians have been able to use VHA as a whipping-boy, a phrase that came out of slavery when Africans were literally "whipping boys". Capitalism has always seen human beings as a commodity to be exploited.

It is easy to convince the public, which has already been brainwashed that government doesn't work, that the VHA doesn't work either. Oligarchs such as the Koch brothers, Walton family, and the Bill Gates of the world set up phony "non-profit" organizations to further their cause of profiting by privatizing VHA. The oligarchs create phony veterans' groups to go along with privatization, always called "reform" or "choice".

Donald Trump used the VHA as part of his platform in his 2016 presidential campaign. All during 2016, Trump's stump speech repeated that veterans had long wait-times at VHA, and that the VHA could not get rid of overpaid, incompetent and lazy doctors. His flag waving stump speech went like this:

"Four years ago, our entire nation was shocked and outraged by stories of the VA system plagued by neglect, abuse, fraud and mistreatment of our veterans"and there was nothing they could do about it. Good people that worked there, they couldn't take care of the bad people -- meaning 'You're fired, get the hell out of here".

In a less flamboyant, but just as corrupt way, Barack Obama raided the VHA budget with a program of private for-profit healthcare. In 2014 he signed the "Veterans Choice Program".

Under Veterans Choice a veteran who lives more than 40 miles from a VHA facility and experiences over a 30-day wait-time to see a VHA doctor can see a private doctor instead. The VHA of course picks up the tab. Veterans Choice drained $5.2 billion from VHA.

Trump fulfilled his campaign promise by getting the VA MISSION Act of 2018 passed. The VA Mission Act is estimated to drain $55 billion from VHA over 5 years.

Under the VA Mission Act, veterans who have a wait-time of more than 14 days for an appointment, or must drive for over 30 minutes may seek private care. Who doesn't have to drive over 30 minutes unless they live next door to VHA facility?

Unmentioned is that according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), wait times of for-profit private care for veterans would likely jump to 70 days. At the VHA, the issue of wait-time is a phony issue. A January 2019 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the average VHA wait-time was 17.7 days, while the private-sector average was 29.8 days.

The privatization of VHA is all about profits and ripping off veterans. It has nothing to do with the quality of care, the medical outcomes, the wait-time, or cost. VHA beats the private healthcare platform in every category.

The VHA is a comprehensive, holistic, healthcare system

The Veterans Administration healthcare is the best healthcare anywhere because it is a comprehensive and holistic healthcare program. It strives not only to treat sick and injured veterans, but to keep them well through preventive healthcare.

The VHA has a lifetime relationship with veterans. So, VHA saves money in the long-run by keeping veterans healthy. Veterans have better outcomes by staying healthy. The VHA is on a mission to provide the best healthcare.

Preventive care is not profitable for private healthcare providers. That is why for-profit healthcare and health insurance does not focus on preventive care. Preventive care is not a big-ticket profit center for doctors and hospitals. Since employee benefit plans change providers often, even HMO's find preventive care unprofitable.

As an example, for a private practice cardiologists there is no money in advising a patient to eat healthy, lose weight, quit smoking, exercise, and take aspirin. The VHA has preventive programs to help veterans with healthy eating, weight loss, smoke cessation, and physical fitness. You will not find those programs even at the best of private HMOs.

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David William Pear is a Senior Editor for OpEdNews.com, and a Senior Contributing Editor for The Greanville Post. David is a journalist, columnist, and commentator for TV and radio. His articles, essays and interviews have an emphasis on (more...)
 

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