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John McCain
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
While Democrats push Sen. Bernie Sanders' bill to allow the Veterans Affairs Department to lease 27 new medical facilities and hire more doctors and nurses to reduce wait times for veterans seeking medical care, Republicans are preparing to unveil their own plan. Sens. John McCain, Richard Burr, and Tom Coburn are teaming up on this one, and it's a safe bet it will involve privatized care:
“The solution to this problem is flexibility to the veteran to choose their health care, just like other people under other health care plans are able to do,” McCain said June 1 on “Face the Nation.”
Isn't it cute to watch all these wealthy senators not realizing that people on other health plans also face substantial wait times for appointments? And by cute I obviously mean rage-inducing. Not to mention the suggestion that veterans should just pop over to their local general practitioner—the one with the shortest wait time for appointments, who is definitely going to be the best doctor in the area—to have their spinal and brain injuries and missing limbs treated. Then there's the money question:
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, said in an interview after the announcement last week that Congress has “flooded the VA with money” in recent years.

Burr told reporters today that “money is not the problem.”

“But if down the road, once we reform it, if they need more money, the Congress will respond to it,” he said.

The VA may have been flooded with money in recent years. It's also been flooded with veterans of Republican wars, many of them with grievous injuries. So when Republicans like Burr, who participated in the filibuster of increased funding for veterans' health care in February, claim that "if they need more money," Congress will act, it rings a little hollow. They need more money. You blocked it. Quit pretending that's not what happened.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Veterans Don't Won't The VA To Be Privatized (29+ / 0-)

    So if republicans want to go down that road than democrats should let them and should get their votes on the record.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:20:25 AM PDT

    •  Yep I'll never forgive him for giving us (5+ / 0-)

      You Know Who, the grift that keeps on grifting.....

    •  He's a FUCK UP too, like Bergdahl, he screwed up (6+ / 0-)

      crashed a plane (his 5th) and allowed himself to be captured alive. He "plays the part" of a super macho guy who would fight to the death, and yet he didn't, he chose  life in captivity over fighting to the death.

      Now he's Mr Harsh Critic of Bergdahl, who clearly cracked and had no business (like so very many in the last 15 years) being in the military in the first place. Not everyone is cut out to be able to survive the psychological stress of being in active duty at war. It's nothing to be ashamed of, humans are not robots. The first one to blame on Bergdahl is the US Army, in desperate need for cannon fodder lowered standards and eliminated any effort at psychological screening of volunteers.

      It turned into a jobs program, one of the only ones the Republicans support, rather than filling the ranks of a professional military.

      •  McCain was unconscious and drowning (6+ / 0-)

        The story I read was that McCain was so shattered when he bailed out and his parachute took him into a pond that he would have drowned had not the Viet Namese who were being bombarded day and night not floated out and saved his ass. Rather than killing him out of much deserved revenge for all the friends and family they had lost to the bombing they got him to medical care. I say this as someone who was doing his part to kill as many Viet Namese from the air as possible in South Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. What we were doing was so wrong that I have nightmares that confront me with the evilness that had taken root in my soul at that point in my life. Not sure McCain has ever suffered any remorse for his part in killing innocent civilians in that war or any of the others that he loudly supports.

        •  Your hit job on McCain is unwarranted. (0+ / 0-)

          He didn't start the war. He did his duty like millions of us who served there. We, most of us, gave a year. He was a POW for many years.

          I don't agree with almost everything he spouts off about; but he deserves repect for his service.

          Hey dumb dumbs, if tax cuts created jobs, we would have so many jobs that we would glady let the illegals come in.

          by hkorens on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:47:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is no excuse for McCain having no conscience (5+ / 0-)

            Okay, he did his duty.  He graduated at the bottom of his class, and because Daddy was an Admiral, McCain became a pilot - but, not a very good one.  McCain bombed civilians when he wasn't crashing planes, and then he crashed and became a POW.

            But, how do you explain how this guy who became the Republican candidate for President of the United States:

            1.  Could pick Sarah Palin as a qualified candidate for Vice-president;
            2.  Could stand in front of a convention of Republican conventioneers and encourage the United States to bomb every nation that he could think to name;
            3.  Could go on every weekend talk show and repeatedly mouth every Fox News talking point like a recorder.

            It's time for John McCain to retire and draw his pension.

            Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

            by NM Ray on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:02:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We all respect the service, it is the DISSERVICE (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ellamenta, RN that thinks

            to the nation for decades in the aftermath that seriously outweighs the service.

            The clear example is McCain vs Kerry, who took what as a lesson from their experiences. There was a draft this wasn't a volunteer effort, McCain "volunteered" because he was an indoctrinated member of a long time military family. Kerry volunteered because he was gonna get drafted anyway.

            Kerry came back clearly clear on just what an abomination and disaster Vietnam was .... and we did win, by any military calculus, 3.2 million enemy dead 58,000 Americans lost. Pay no attention to the North getting their wishes regardless. Pay no attention to the Harvard educated George Washington figure (Ho) being treated like a monkey by D.C. long before the war happened, for simply wanting his people and nation to have their freedom returned to them ... you know, by the alleged Freedom Bringers of Earth (the USA).

            But Kerry learned from the experience, while McCain went right on embarrassing the insanity and playing Mr Macho asshole for DECADES since, and translating it into more adventurism for the sake of macho, and trying to get a hell of a lot more people killed. All the while playing partisan ideological politics at every step.

            McCain is literally a human piece of shit. He's old and feeble and should get about dying and reduce the surplus population of assholes on the planet.

  •  The budget has indeed increased by (14+ / 0-)

    50% over the past 5 years.  However, the number of veterans receiving care through the system has doubled.  In other words, a reduction in services.

    Dick Cheney was completely wrong about Iraq, and we are still struggling with the aftermath of what Dick Cheney and his crew thought was the right policy: To go in and start a war of choice for the wrong reasons. -- John Kerry

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:35:53 AM PDT

    •  This isn't actually true (0+ / 0-)

      The budget has increased by more than 50 percent, from around 85billion to over 150 billion this year, but more importantly, the number of veterans eligible to receive care has doubled. Not the number of veterans receiving care. This means that we'll need to keep increasing the budget in the future, but not that there's not been enough funding.

      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

      by campionrules on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:03:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a linear increase? (0+ / 0-)

      I am not sure why a 50% would not be sufficient.  It is not like all these veterans would require the same level of care.  Some probably never saw action. Some are still young, and have been fed well and physically trained on the taxpayer dollar so should be healthy.

      Obviously because we have been fighting constant wars for the past 15 years, there are going to be trauma.  The Congressional Research Service has listed about 150,000 cases of PTSD, about 300,000 cases of brain injury, probably only about 50,000 severe or moderate, and less than 2,000 major limb amputations.  So these are not huge numbers over a 15 year period.  The rest is just routine medical care

      Here is my question, then.  Why is the VA doing routine medical care.  For example, a friend who got drafted for Vietnam, but never got deployed, goes to the VA nearly every month for something.  We are in a big city, so this is not a problem for him in terms of travel, and they probably provide pretty efficient service because of scale.

      But I think of veterans in other communities, where the travel time is significant, or the scale not so great, why the VA is providing routine services instead of letting the local doctors take care of the simple stuff, while the VA takes care of the half million veterans with serious war injuries we have collected over the past 15 years.

      The government does not do everything well.  They regulate well, when allowed, they build roads well.  But why should even the most pro government progressive believe that, outside of full socialized medicine, the VA should be primary care physician for veterans?

      •  Who makes the call (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobatkinson, Ellamenta

        on "routine" care ... you?  Or physicians that specialize, and are qualified, in the maladies of veterans?

      •  You ask why should the VA be the primary (7+ / 0-)

        care for our veterans; simply because that is what we promised as a nation to our military.  We ask for their very souls and in return we promise to put them back together when they either return from war, or as they age, we are there for them.

        There are still Korean War vets who are cared for, along with those from Vietnam.  It is a never-ending process. It is our obligation as a society.

        I beg to differ with you regarding the care at the VA.   Practically every vet you speak to who gets into the system and has been treated or is being treated ongoing, finds the care excellent.  I can speak from personal experience.

        It is the dedication of the VA personnel and the expertise  working with vets that is absolutely not available on the outside.    And, FYI, the VA system is socialized medicine and it does work well.  All hospital personnel, hospitals, are government run.  There has to be more facilities and more doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to ease the wait times; that is a given.  That is what the Democrats propose, and it is being balked at by the obstructive Repugs.

        If outside of the VA, vets could get interim care until the problems ease up, may be necessary.  However, a primary care physician on the outside is simply not trained to spot the insidious problems many vets are dealing with.

        •  At one time, we had a draft and ALL Americans (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quietpro, Ellamenta

          SERVED!  Except for those who aspired to be Republican politicians, and they dodged the draft because they had "more important things to do in their lives."  (Dick Cheney)

          Now, our wars are fought by 1% of the American population and it is a minor cost that the rest of us can pay for the inconvenience to us and the major sacrifice by them.

          Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

          by NM Ray on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:06:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Eligible vets need care (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a gilas girl

        It's why they are eligible.  The laws changed during the early years under Bush 43 to limit VA eligibility to veterans.  Routine service that doesn't result in a service-connected disability (I believe of more than 30%) means you leave with nothing in the way of VA medical care.

        You may have heard in the news that VA disability processing is a bit back-logged as well.  So, for those who need care but have yet to have a determination of their rating, they'll continue to wait.

        I'm not defending or criticizing, just providing some basic facts.

    •  Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig (5+ / 0-)

      Cheney and Rove should just shut up.   They make me sick with their stupid rhetoric.   They are partly responsible for George W Bush becoming President, and all the horrors that followed.  Including the missed memo that Osama bin Laden was going to attack...The Iraq, "shock and awe" bogus war...The crashing of our economy.   That is just part of their harm to America.    Where are the investigations and hearings on the lies told to get us into the Iraq war, and the torture that followed.    

      •  Cheney and Rove (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quietpro

        Have an outstanding record of Draft Deferments between them!  Ol' "Ass pimple" Limbaugh also has a remarkable record!

        Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

        by NM Ray on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:07:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And we need to defeat Burr in 2016, too. /nt (6+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:36:55 AM PDT

  •  Please Help (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    francap, bobatkinson

    Please help us and tell Governor (of Alabama) Bentley to expand Medicaid.  Here’s his contact number 334-242-7100 or fax 334-353-0004.

  •  Congress almost asked VA bureaucrats to lie (8+ / 0-)

    They told the VA hospitals to do a $15 billion job on a $10 billion budget (or whatever the numbers are).  And they made it pretty clear they didn't want to hear any complaints about inadequate funding, or about the long waiting times that resulted.  
    Congress didn't explicitly say, "Concoct whatever smoke, mirrors, and lies you can come up with to make us look good," but any bureaucrat with a lick of sense got that message.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:47:06 AM PDT

  •  Just how these clowns think,,, (11+ / 0-)

    That spending 24 percent on administrative costs and allowing for profit will make this system more efficient.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:56:57 AM PDT

  •  Mccain act like he is American most authority (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    francap, bobatkinson, mahartley

    On military issue , who is he too criticize the condition on which   Obama  got the soldier release  from the Taliban ,they say he gave secret to the VietCong while he was in captivity  in the Hanoi  Hilton ,for person that spent most of a war as a prisoner in Vietnam ,he should have some feeling for what  the soldier is going through ,maybe  the soldier developed PTSD while on duty in Afghanistan

  •  Too bad we can't cancel Congress' heathcare (5+ / 0-)

    coverage until they fix this problem that they created. A few weeks without their Viagra and they might step up their efforts for our Veterans.

    "I think the Republican Party is not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except reelecting itself. It’s a coalition of gangs …"-David Stockman

    by GrannyOPhilly on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:58:36 AM PDT

  •  Republicans don't need VA assistance. . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzmaniac, francap, bobatkinson

    Because Republicans just start wars, they don't fight them.  Republicans don't volunteer to serve their nation, so they don't appreciate the efforts of those who do.  Republicans never expose themselves to combat, so they don't have any sympathy for those who suffer the wounds and casualties.

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:59:13 AM PDT

  •  First of all (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, francap, bobatkinson, Quietpro

    private physicians with few exceptions don't want medicaid or medicare patients so what makes you think they will jump at treating vets?  

    McCain and the other two fools claim there is "flexibility" in the private sector health care.  Never was.  You still need referrals to specialists.  With HMO's, you had to stay within the prescribed group of physicians or pay out of pocket.  If they want flexibility, why not accept all US citizens into the VA if they choose it?  

    These 3 jokers make me laugh.  They want everything privatized.  Look at the schools for profit?  With very few exceptions are they better than the public system.

  •  The VA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    francap, bobatkinson, Quietpro

    has already been privatized.  With Tricare you often have to be seen outside the VA.  For example the VA in Albuquerque has no maternity care anymore.

    That happened under W and it has not gone well. A charge for coverage was also added at that time.  I remember attending a meeting at Kirtland that was full of WWII vets pissed that their contract was now nullified.

  •  Will Rethugs Demand Financial Offsets to Increase (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    francap, dagnome, bobatkinson, a2nite, LVblue

    Veterans Administration money?!

    Like eliminating food stamps, Obamacare, Medicaid, student loans, etc.?!

    The Party of Stupid is always cutting budgets except when it comes to giving the filthy rich tax cuts, handing out more corporate welfare, or starting pre-emptive wars, all done on credit.

    The Party of Stupid starts 2 of the longest wars in the history of the country on the country's credit card, cuts VA benefits for soldiers coming home from these wars, and then pretends they are all supportive of veterans while denying them the care that wounded warriors desperately need.

    Veterans need to stop voting for flag-waving, phony patriotic rethugs.

  •  Those poor Senators with no flexibility. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    francap, bobatkinson

    It's such a sign of their dedication that they haven't freed themselves of the shackles of government health care and embraced the efficiency and joy that is the private health care market. What resolve they must have.

  •  Appropriating money to hire more doctors and nu... (4+ / 0-)

    Appropriating money to hire more doctors and nurses is well and good, but where will they come from? There's a shortage of primary care docs, psychiatrists, and nurses in the more lucrative private sector.

    We as a country need to face up to some basic facts:

    *Poor planning and false assumptions about the Gulf War and the Afghanistan war left the VA unprepared for increased demand

    *The VA is additionally stressed by the overdue eligibility of Vietnam vets suffering from the effects of Agent Orange

    *Because of a general shortage of nurses, primary care physicians, and psychiatrists, the problem can't be addressed only by an appropriation of funds to expand -- a pipeline has to be created as well

    *The VA provides highly specialized care that is unavailable from civilian providers. Demand is greater than capacity here as well. Again, a pipeline needs to be established, and this can't happen overnight

    *We owe these men and women a sustained national effort. If you can't set aside your hatreds or resist politicizing this, have the decency to at least shut up.

    The messenger for this has to be someone unassailable or who has the ear of the electorate -- James Webb, Tammy Duckworth, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, or even Bill Clinton (people listen to him).

  •  Potentially a good thing -- up to a point. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    The VA will always be a special case, like the former Cook County hospital up in Chicago.

    Many war injuries, whether physical or mental, require special knowledge.  On the other hand, even veterans need a lot of routine care and care that comes within the expertise of civilian doctors.  Getting "ordinary" care where it is most convenient and "special" care where the expertise lies is not a bad solution.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:08:52 AM PDT

  •  Not for privatization - BUT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzmaniac, bobatkinson

    There's merit to shifting some people to Medicare when they reach 65.  That is, unless the veteran has some ailment that is unique to the military.  For example, Iwas exclusively VA until 65, and have since transferred all my care to private doctors except for a specific disability I acquired through military service, and for which the VA has more expertise.  In my case, that's PTSD.

  •  Drowning in money? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, bobatkinson

    That explains why we've had 18 months of mandatory overtime because we can't hire enough people to keep up with demand.

    We're certainly drowning in something, I just didn't know that I could monetize my stress.

    It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

    by Solarian on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:12:01 AM PDT

  •  THAT'S GREAT NEWS!!!FOR JOHN McCAIN!!!!!1!!!111!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKDAWUSS, bobatkinson

    I think I'll go bang my head against the keyboard new....

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:16:34 AM PDT

  •  We are now the United States of Obstruction and (0+ / 0-)

    Obfuscation.  Forget progress.  Almost everything wrong in this country could be solved by the government if there was the will to do so. the issue is which method to choose, and that's where the current political mess comes in.  They have their way of wanting to do things, we haave ours, and never (and I mean never) the twain shall meet.

    UGH, TEXAS. Please secede!

    by u028021 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

  •  VA also has a centralized patient record (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, bobatkinson, Quietpro, Vetwife

    One of the key benefits to the VA system is the nationwide centralized electronic medical record the system uses. This allows any provider at any VA facility to have the complete patient record any time they treat a vet. So sending vets into a private system that a) does not have experience with their care needs and b) does not have access to their medical information (since electronic medical records can't be read across different systems at this time) could actually reduce quality of care.

    The really sad part of this scandal is that the VA, during the 90s and early 2000s, underwent a radical transformation and dramatically improved service to veterans. They've simply been overwhelmed with volume following the wars of choice W got us into.

    Cruelty might be very human, and it might be very cultural, but it's not acceptable.- Jodie Foster

    by CPT Doom on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:26:24 AM PDT

  •  As though veterans would have easy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    accessibility to specialists who treat the types of injuries they suffer from if they went to a general practitioner.

  •  No (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    Private prisons result in longer prison terms for simple drug use which in turns results in higher profits for the owners.  Our young people are paying the price for their greed.      Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
    Private for profit hospitals will in the end be more expensive for our Veterans.    The VA hospitals and their dedicated workers have worked miracles  with the Veterans horrible injuries.   Injuries which in past wars they could not survive.   Leave the VA hospital, but change the way the monetary system works.    The oversight, the managers,  The patient advocates, and cut out the bonuses.

  •  Privatize the VA? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    Maybe they should privatize WAR...

    Oh wait, I think that's kinda sorta already the case...

    Meh. MIC.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:36:25 AM PDT

  •  The VA does use the private sector, at great cost (8+ / 0-)

    There's no evidence the private sector performs better than the VA - despite the anecdotes of frustration, which I share.

    I'm a VA surgeon. The VA routinely uses private sector docs and outsources overloads - the cost is greater than in-system care.

    I wrote about this here: http://onsurg.com/...

    CP

  •  It's strange that republicans... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    seem to think "Privatization" means "Government won't need to pay for it".

    When it really means "Government will have to pay MORE for it".

  •  Neither Coburn nor Burr served (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson

    a day in the military.  They are qualified to speak on this topic how?  And McCain, sadly, had long since lost it.

  •  What did McCain know about the Phoenix VA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife

    I really want to see some accountability from McCain on how many complaints his office received over the years and decades even about the state of care at his hometown VA facility. He was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee for years and knew damn well that the VA had chronic underfunding/understaffing issues that needed attention. He ignored those concerns and I want to see just what he knew about the problems at the Phoenix VA. The vets there are his constituents so it is his direct responsibility to them to have properly addressed their concerns long before he began calling for head of the much more honorable General Eric Shinseki. Just the site of this evil old bastard makes me ill.

  •  I don't understand why the VA card can't be .... (0+ / 0-)

    treated just like the Medicare card. Yes you have the VA infrastructure, but I have found the VA engages in a lot of .... make work.

    Example, my Dad gets all his meds from the VA as a veteran. This was always fantastic, especially after Bush's medicare D abomination. But a few years ago the VA decided that as the supplier of Wafarin THEY would take on the duties of monitoring blood tests. They would draw the blood, ship it off to their own lab, etc.

    Up to that point his family physician and medicare was handling the monitoring. The move struck me as very silly given all the volume and responsibilities they already had, why take on so much more work AND the costs involved. I never got a straight answer, the people at the patient level have no idea why the policy changed.

    But even temporarily, I just don't see why the VA card can't be treated for private doctors and hospitals the exact same was Medicare cards are. The added paperwork of accounting can't possibly be as big a deal as the massive backlog of patient's not getting treated at all.

    Later, after you "catch up" then you can go back to VA facilities only.

  •  This is what we get for stupid wars; more vets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson, Vetwife

    & less money for their care. It's the American way.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:14:01 AM PDT

  •  Private Profit, Public Risk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobatkinson, Vetwife

    Well if you didn't see this coming you haven't been paying attention. Everyone should remember what the GOP's country club pals at Halliburton did At Walter Reed Medical Center. With the rats, the dirty bandages, rotten food and vets dying attended in filthy beds. Privatization my a--. More corporate welfare is what it is, as if these crooks at Halliburton haven't already made a fortune off the last two oil wars.

  •  Private doctors have waiting lists (0+ / 0-)

    I  live in a city with hundreds of doctors and 6 major hospitals, and I have insurance and a family doctor. To get an appt with my own doctor this year -- there was a five-week wait. And that's with good insurance that pays pretty much what the doctor charges. I can just imagine what the wait would be like (if they'd even take the patient) with someone who doesn't have insurance or who just has government insurance.

    What also is overloading the VA system is elderly veterans whose problems are the problems of old age, which are intractable and hard to  deal with because they're so comprehensive. More than half the men in the 40s and 50s (who are now elderly) were in the service because of those two wars. Most of them can get VA benefits, and many of them do. That's a lot of extra pressure. But that takes pressure off Medicare and private hospitals. So it would be hard to say, "Only service-related injuries!!" They have to get treated somewhere.

  •  This VN Vet Uses the VA (0+ / 0-)

    and find it as good as or better than most civilian hospitals. I do not want to see it privatized or merged with other systems.
    I have experienced minor wait times for non critical needs
    but have always had a prompt response to serious problems.

    One of the things I like best is their proactive attitude toward patient care. Preventative services are always available. Yearly or twice yearly physicals are automatically scheduled. They catch things early. Ongoing problems are monitored.

    They know veterans.  In nearly 40 years of occasionally using civilian doctors not a single one managed to diagnose my primary illness or even had a clue there was a problem.  Five minutes with a VA doctor and she diagnosed it.  She basically saved my life.

    If you have never used the system as a patient or a relative thereof, you can't understand what makes it special to us.

    I fear no God or lack thereof since neither is the case.

    by post rational on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:57:59 PM PDT

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