FT95: “Yes the VA is successful national health care…if you call NOT covering 93% of the population universal coverage.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 9th, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Since the Vietnam War Congress has made some VA Hospitals little more than Third World Hospitals

There are about 3 million people serving in the military.  This includes active duty and reserve personnel.  The current U.S. population is just over 300 million.  So if you do the math that’s approximately 1% of the population.  That’s a very small sliver of the population.  And yet they offer to sacrifice everything – including their lives – for the other 99%.  Wow.  Talk about selfless duty to country.  And to their fellow Americans.

Unfortunately some of these men and women suffer wounds serving their country.  Some severe wounds.  They receive state of the art medical care within hours of their wounding.  At the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  And later at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Then they return to civilian life.  The Veterans Administration (VA).  And the VA hospitals throughout America.  That aren’t as nice as the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  Or the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Since the Vietnam War Congress turned against the military.  Gutting military budgets to pay for a burgeoning welfare state.  To buy votes.  Ronald Reagan put a stop to that.  Rebuilt the military.  But Congress did a lot of damage.  They made some VA hospitals little more than third world hospitals.  A second tier of health care that was good enough for the people that they didn’t like.  Even as late as the Eighties some VA hospital had a higher mortality rate than a comparable hospital in the private sector.  Sadly, a VA hospital was a place to put veterans.  And forget about them.

The VA System is a Pretty Small Health Care Program and Small Programs are easy to Fund and to Run

Thankfully, things changed.  The quality of VA health care today is much better.  Thanks to a surge in defense spending that paid for a lot of wars since the Eighties.  But things are changing again.  And Congress is scheduling more cuts in defense spending.  So Congress can use this money to pay for their ever burgeoning welfare state.

Currently the VA is about as good as it gets.  And those who love a good welfare state point to it as a fine example of a well-ran national health care program.  They say, see?  We just need to expand this system to cover all Americans.  All we have to do is to scale up the program a bit.  Of course this all depends on how large ‘a bit’ is.

The VA’s successes are in large part due to its size.  It’s small.  For we don’t have that many veterans.  Currently they are only about 7% of the total population.  Which is less than our black population (which is about 10%).  So the VA system is a pretty small health care program.  And small programs are easy to fund.  And to run.  Not like a large national program.  Such as Medicare.  Which isn’t even universal.   But it is full of fraud and waste.  Just like any program will be that expands from serving 21 million to serving 300 million.  That’s an increase of 1300%.  Which would be like taking the existing VA system and building another 13 just like it.  All funded by guess what?  The mother of all tax hikes.  And do we really want to give government that kind of money with their record of reckless spending and deficits?  Because you know what will happen.  They’ll eventually use some of that money elsewhere.  To pay for other unfunded parts of the burgeoning welfare state.  Requiring higher taxes to fund national health care.  Or further rationing.

A VA-Type System won’t Work because you can’t Raise Taxes enough to give the Other 93% the same Quality of Care

The health care crisis is government made.  Going back to the wage controls of World War II.  When employers couldn’t offer higher wages to attract the best workers.  So they started offering benefits.  Which got around the government’s regulation of the private sector.  And gave us employer provided health care.  And the heath care crisis.

Health care costs grew because other people paid for our health care.  There wasn’t a problem before other people started paying.  When we paid health care was affordable.  Because there were market forces in health care.  Now there are fewer.  And those who favor a big welfare state want to remove all market forces.  Which will only continue the trend of increasing costs.  And when the government doesn’t have the tax revenue to pay these escalating costs they’ll start rationing services.  Because it will be the only thing they can do.  Just like other nations with national health care have done.

The VA is a success story for the 7%.  Because 7% of 300 million is a much smaller number than 300 million.  A VA-type system just won’t work for the other 93%.  Because you can’t raise taxes enough to give the other 93% the same quality of care.  So that leaves one option.  Lowering the quality of care for everyone.  Including the 7% who paid for their care by spilling their blood.

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