Along with the rest of the country I have watched with increasing dismay the recent debacle unfold at the VA hospitals. Now that the truth is out, the political posturing has begun, the scapegoats have been identified and the firings have commenced.
The American Legion and other veterans groups are calling for change, for improved care; and rightly so. There is no doubt that this country owes these veterans a debt of gratitude and the best care we can provide to mend broken and bruised bodies and minds: The inevitable results of the battlefield.
So now what? What should be the response to hasten the care of these veterans’ needs?
Our commander in chief who has never spent a day in uniform, has indicated that he will quickly appoint a replacement for a battlefield decorated, four-star general who could not ferret out, control or fire a cadre of bureaucrats who feathered their nests by cooking the books at the cost of thousands who needed immediate care.
Who among us believes that this bloated bureaucracy will fix itself, no matter who is in charge? It won’t happen in the lifetimes of most of these vets.
There is, however, an immediate and effective fix to this mess: Give every vet a Medicare card with no co-pay and let the veteran choose the best care available in their community. The VA can still conduct research and provide specialized care required for injuries unique to the battlefield, but each VA hospital and out-patient clinic should be deeded over to the communities in which they are located to help serve the millions Obamacare is bringing into the system.
Would it work? Would it provide immediate relief? Yes. Will it happen? No, for the same reason that a politician makes speeches and is photographed at a new highway dedication, but rarely is pictured over a repaired pothole.