Thursday, November 12, 2015

VA “Privatization”- The Power of a Word

Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks in New Hampshire on the evils of “privatization” of the VA health system show the power of a word.

To wit:

“ The VA problem is not as widespread as its been made out to be… and I will not let the Republicans use the problem as an excuse to privatize the VA…Privatization is a betrayal, plain and simple, and I’m not going to let it happen. ..the constant berating of the VA comes from the Republicans in pursuit of the ideological agenda they have.”

To which John McCain (R. Arizona) replied.

“Hillary Clinton’s downplaying the significance of the scandal in which veterans died while waiting care at the VA in Phoenix and across our nation while corrupt bureaucrats collected bonuses are disgraceful and shows lack of appreciation of the crisis veterans facing veterans’ health care today.”

Let’s put this in perspective.

Whose "ideology" are we talking about - Democrat ownership or Republican "free markets?

“Privatization” is defined at the transfer of ownership from a government to a privately owned entity. There is no suggestion of such a transfer.

Instead Republicans and Democrats have proposed giving health care vouchers to veterans so they can be treated by private physicians when needed or desired.

Vouchers to see a private physician hardly approach “privatization”, or “a betrayal, plain and simple,” of the VA.

Health care vouchers are not a betrayal or transfer of ownership to the private sector. Vouchers are a short-term way to cut waiting times, especially for veterans in rural areas remote from VA facilities, and to offer freedom of choice, while we wait for resolution of the VA’s problems – shortage of primary care physicians and specialists, long waiting times, inconsistencies of care, and a bloated bureaucracy.

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