As the scandal within the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to metastasize we have written about an effort by Senator John McCain to give veterans greater autonomy over their own health care decisions.
Unfortunately, the septuagenarian John McCain partnered with the septuagenarian socialist Bernie Sanders and the resulting bill should be rejected by any sane person:
The agreement would allow veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or who are experiencing long wait times to seek care at other government or private medical facilities. Senators also propose providing $500 million for VA to hire more doctors and nurses to meet growing demand nationwide.
This exemplifies the kind of go-along-get-along log rolling that makes you throw up in your mouth. McCain wanted a more open system. Sanders wanted bigger government. So we got a little free enterprise, some bureaucrat still has to rule on whether a veteran can seek care outside the ongoing RICO violation that is the VA health care system, and Sanders gets to add a few thousand members to the rolls of government employee unions.
The fact is that the demand for veterans health care is not growing. It is shrinking each year.
The number of patients receiving medical care has increase by about 600,000 since 2008. This is not due to an influx of recent war veterans, it is due to the aging of the the cohort of WW II, Korea, and Vietnam veterans. As the overall number of veterans falls, the number receiving health care will also fall.
What the VA has is a performance problem, not a money problem and not a staffing problem. It is a low performing organization with a history of abject failure. Money that should be used on veterans is frittered away on conferences. It locks veterans into an abusive and paternalistic medical system that is just as likely to kill as to heal.
Adding $500 million to further featherbed an agency that already employs a quarter million people for the purpose of delivering health care to less than 6 million patients, most of those on an outpatient basis, is an abuse of the American taxpayer. While the number of veterans decreases these extra people will remain in the VA as employees.
Congress should vote against this monstrosity.