According to the official government website, “The President’s vision for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to transform VA into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking.” So no surprise that “the President’s 2015 Budget includes $163.9 billion for VA in 2015. This includes $68.3 billion in discretionary resources and $95.6 billion in mandatory funding,” and this “represents an increase of $2.0 billion, or 3.0 percent, over the 2014 enacted level.” This bigger budget “provides the resources necessary to meet its priority goals to increase Veteran access to benefits and services, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end Veteran homelessness.” The $163 billion budget will also “help ensure that Veterans, their families, and survivors receive the highest quality benefits and services we can provide and which they earned through their sacrifice and service to our Nation.” Sounds good, but how are all those billions working out for the veterans?
According to this CNN report, VA bosses have maintained a “secret waiting list” that forced 1,400 to 1,600 veterans “to wait months to see a doctor.” Further, “at least 40 American veterans died in Phoenix while waiting for care at the VA there, many of whom were placed on the secret list.” Similar revelations are emerging “from other VA hospitals across the country,” but that did not force the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. The one to step down was Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, and the good doctor was going to resign this year anyway. In addition to 40 dead, and allegations of VA bosses cooking the books and falsifying records, the federal Attorney General is not looking to bring any criminal charges. On the other hand, for all but the willfully blind the VA scandal serves up valuable lessons in government monopoly health care, what politicians like to call “socialized medicine” or “single payer.”
Government monopoly health care promotes colossal waste, facilitates incompetence, and remains utterly indifferent to the welfare of its intended beneficiaries. Remember, this system is for veterans, those who, as the VA says, have sacrificed and served for the nation. If government monopoly health care fails veterans so badly, ordinary citizens should expect much worse. Obamacare aside, government monopoly health care is what the ruling class really wants. In the VA, to paraphrase Lincoln Steffens, taxpayers have seen the future and it irks.