McCain: Time to privatize ordinary health care at the VA

posted at 12:01 pm on May 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Most people didn’t recall that the quality and speed of service at the VA had been an issue for the 2008 campaign until the recent scandal sent all of us looking back at Barack Obama’s promises in his first presidential campaign. Obama wasn’t alone in discussing this, though; John McCain also proposed a systemic reform in health-care delivery at the VA in the 2008 campaign, but one that took a significantly different approach than Obama’s. Now McCain wants a second look at his proposal in the utter failure of Obama’s VA reform policies:

Sens. Richard Burr, Tom Coburn and I are working on legislation that would strengthen the ability of VA administrators to hire and fire those charged with providing care and, most important, give far greater flexibility to veterans to get the care they need and deserve, where and when they want it, whether in the VA system or not.

Veterans have earned the right to choose where and when they get their medical care, and it is our responsibility to afford them this option. Continuing to require that they rely on a system riddled with dysfunction, while waiting for broader reform, is patently unacceptable.

McCain also blasted his former opponent for a complete lack of leadership over the last five-plus years on the issue, as well as in the crisis itself:

Unfortunately, as this scandal at the VA escalated for nearly two months, President Obama was nowhere to be seen. There were expressions of anger through presidential proxies, but nothing from the commander in chief himself. And when the president finally did speak about the crisis on Wednesday, there was only a recitation of talking points, expressions of confidence in the system, without a real sense of emotion and urgency.

A VA official resigned shortly before his planned retirement, and a White House staffer with no relevant VA or military experience was tapped to look into the crisis. But no meaningful action has been taken.

The sad fact is that the same charges then-Sen. Obama levied against his predecessor’s stewardship of the VA in 2008—that it was “an outrage,” “a betrayal,” that “we are all dishonored”—are no less true today, just as Mr. Obama’s vaunted campaign promises to reform the VA system had few results. The VA is arguably in worse shape more than five years into his presidency than when Mr. Obama took office. Yet even today, the president seems to be treating this as a political problem to be managed, not a national crisis to be solved.

At The Week, I take a look at McCain’s original proposal, and point out that five years of trying its alternative and dumping nearly a quarter-trillion added funding into it should justify at least a fresh approach to VA care. The most important improvement in McCain’s suggestion is to restore government to its proper role as regulator:

McCain noted the different experiences that most Americans had in accessing quick and excellent medical care in private-sector systems, as opposed to what veterans got in the government-run, single-payer VA system. By June 2008, McCain publicly proposed a two-tier system at VA, which would fund private coverage for all non-military medical issues. This would allow veterans to seek covered care anywhere for most of their medical issues, while allowing the VA to focus its resources on those areas in which they had the highest expertise — dealing with the illnesses and injuries directly related to military service. Doing so, McCain argued, would allow veterans to greatly accelerate their access to care in both areas. …

Six years later, we can see the results of dumping resources into a flawed system with no accountability. By the end of the last budget signed by George W. Bush (FY2008), spending at the VA had increased 88.3 percent in comparison to the final budget from the Clinton administration in FY2001, for a total per-year increase of $39.7 billion over seven budget cycles. In the Obama era that followed, VA spending rose another 78 percent, the largest increase on a percentage level of any Cabinet agency in Obama’s tenure. The annual VA budget rose $65.9 billion a year to $150.7 billion in FY2014. Obama appointed retired four-star General Eric Shinseki, himself a wounded veteran, as VA secretary immediately on taking office in January 2009, with a promise of heightened attention and vast improvement in services.

Instead, we have veterans dying from lack of medical care while VA offices falsify records. Even after acknowledging the problems in the 2008 cycle and getting repeatedly warned about the wait-list fraud, Shinseki and Obama insisted this month that the fraud and lack of care had taken them by complete surprise. Both argued that they needed more time to study the situation rather than take action immediately to apply the vastly increased resources they have at hand.

Taking the FY2008 VA budget of $84.8 billion as a baseline, we’ve spent an aggregate of $235 billion in increases alone at the VA since Obama took office. Instead of improving service, those resources have just allowed the problem to fester even more. Why? Because the bureaucracy that would have no problem prosecuting the private sector under similar circumstances cannot be expected to regulate itself in the same manner:

In a multi-payer competitive market, government can act as the regulatory authority that would intercede to ensure proper access and care for America’s veterans. In the single-payer model, there is no outside authority to act when resources get wasted and poor care and access are covered up by fraud and lies. Even now, when the fraud and the fatal lack of access have been made apparent, the government that would crack down on private providers for the same kind of incompetence and fraud wants to form a study committee instead — one that might take action in August.

The VA excels in providing quality care for military-service illnesses and injuries, which the private sector cannot match due to its specialized nature. Streamline the VA to focus on providing that specialty care at which they excel, and give the rest of those resources to the veterans themselves to seek out the best care they can find. If nothing else, we’ve proven that this model doesn’t work.

Michael Ramirez expressed his own thoughts on the VA bureaucracy’s priorities:

ramirez-shinseki

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.


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Yes

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Where was the azzhole until now?

Busy in Hillary’s azz.

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Blind squirrel finds a nut.

crrr6 on May 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM

McCain is the only leader in the GOP? Where is everyone?

This will kill ObamaCare.

faraway on May 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Funny , that’s what they’re saying in the U K !

Lucano on May 27, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Abolish it.

Divide up what was normally appropriated for it by the number of vets needing care.

Hand that out to the vets.

Let the vets figure it out and start their own system for caring for the injured and wounded. These are can-do people and a number of them have high level medical skills. The VFW and American Legion can help on organizing and form up a new health system for the vets either from scratch of utilizing private companies and health insurance, although from scratch and not calling it ‘health insurance’ would be a big plus to keep out of Obamacare for necessary health care for veterans.

The bureaucracy is feeding itself and its cronies at the expense of providing health CARE.

End it.

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The irony just drips like molasses.

jake-the-goose on May 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

VA scandal? what about the new scandal, Plamegate redux?

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

What do you think Obamacare is, you mouth breathing simpleton.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Why can’t they just get a third party to administer VA care, kinda like Tricare

jimver on May 27, 2014 at 12:18 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Exactly what would be worse than getting them killed waiting for care under the system you love so much?

crrr6 on May 27, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Eric “Vet Killer” Shinseki was at the ceremony at Arlington yesterday. I’m not sure how that bastard could have shown his face among military veterans.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Is your private internet service provider “taking advantage of you?”

How about your morning coffee shop?

How about all the other private services you partake of every day?

Which I also assume includes your own doctor. When you go in, do you look at him/her down your nose, wondering if he/she is more interested in your wallet than your health?

It must be so cruel to live in a world that conspires to take advantage of your every action and preference. How could they treat a saint walking among the masses such as yourself that way?

BKennedy on May 27, 2014 at 12:22 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

To these mad people, voluntarily transactions imply that someone is taking advantage of someone else.

Those transaction of coercive nature -like the ones forced upon the individuals by politicians/government- are perfectly fine though. They’re in the best interest of all parts because politicians know better.

joana on May 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Yet an illegal can bet 20-40 different taxpayer funded welfare programs in weeks if not days.

While putting a lot of lip service to veterans, Obama lied again. Priorities for Obama are illegals, minorities, and gays…veterans not so much.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Sometimes even a blind nut can find a squirrel.

Rix on May 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

It must be so cruel to live in a world that conspires to take advantage of your every action and preference. How could they treat a saint walking among the masses such as yourself that way?

BKennedy on May 27, 2014 at 12:22 PM

It’s only Republican Conservative capitalist corporations that ever take advantage on poor brain dead people, never to good Democrat Marxist government that does that.

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

McVain, you moron, this is for you.

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage actually give health care to veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Because the point is TO GET OUR VETERANS HEALTH CARE you freaking idiot.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

While putting a lot of lip service to veterans, Obama lied again. Priorities for Obama are illegals, minorities, and gays…veterans not so much.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Because Obama is a proud member of the latter three groups. Veterans, not so much.

Rix on May 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM

The VA excels in providing quality care for military-service illnesses and injuries, which the private sector cannot match due to its specialized nature.

I think that this incident — as well as previous incidents — demonstrate the folly in that observation. Government bureaucracies never run things “efficiently” or without corruption in the long run. There’s nothing good about them. At least in the private sector, you can choose another provider but not with the VA.

Streamline the VA to focus on providing that specialty care at which they excel, and give the rest of those resources to the veterans themselves to seek out the best care they can find. If nothing else, we’ve proven that this model doesn’t work.

Socialized medicine doesn’t work efficiently; it can’t. “Specialization” isn’t a valid reason to give our veterans inferior care. There’s nothing significant WRT the VA’s “specialization” of “care” for veterans that you couldn’t find elsewhere in private medicine. Do you think that vets don’t go to private medicine now?

Ajacksonian has it right: abolish the VA and provide a subsidy to the veterans for care a private institutions. The American Foreign Legion and the VFW would be overjoyed to help coordinate the needs of vets with private medicine.

The problem would be, of course, that should you abolish the VA and hand them over to “private” medicine — well, private medicine isn’t exactly “private” under Obamacare, now is it?

sixerfixer1976 on May 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

What do you think Obamacare is, you mouth breathing simpleton.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

When Obama makes poor American’s healthcare worse to help big drug & insurance companies it’s awesome!

tetriskid on May 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

that’s the only solution.

Firing someone is not an option.
it’s impossible to ‘fix’ government run healthcare.

weedisgood on May 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Can’t we just do a hashtag or something?

Galtian on May 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Most people didn’t recall that the quality and speed of service at the VA had been an issue for the 2008 campaign

I did remember it, and I mentioned on one of these threads that McCain had called for giving vets vouchers to see private doctors.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Because the point is TO GET OUR VETERANS HEALTH CARE you freaking idiot.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

and the goverment can do that if all the naysayers would just get out of the way and let it do its job. throwing veterans to the mercy of the private sector is a recipe for disaster. who will be looking out for their best interests?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

privatize it so that for-profit companies can take advantage of veterans? great idea, senator.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

You are ignorant beyond words.

Don’t you realize that the lack of competition in the V.A. system is what destroys the quality? Competition = quality. It’s really basic economics. And when the employees all belong to public sector unions – and they cannot be fired – there is no incentive to provide quality care. That’s also basic economics.

TarheelBen on May 27, 2014 at 12:35 PM

One of the biggest problems for Vets is access, not everyone lives near a VA facility.

Sven on May 27, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The VA excels in providing quality care for military-service illnesses and injuries, which the private sector cannot match due to its specialized nature.

I have no doubt that private specialty medical practices would bloom to meet the market for veterans. Most of the medical care for vets is geriatric stuff and diseases that afflict civilians anyway.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Is your private internet service provider “taking advantage of you?”

they have a monopoly in my community, so yes they are.

How about your morning coffee shop?

i dont touch the stuff.

How about all the other private services you partake of every day?

the ones that take my money without giving me the choices i deserve to have are.

Which I also assume includes your own doctor. When you go in, do you look at him/her down your nose, wondering if he/she is more interested in your wallet than your health?

why else would my doctor make me pay for a bunch of uneccesary tests if not to take my money?

It must be so cruel to live in a world that conspires to take advantage of your every action and preference.

the world is a tough place and there are always people looking to make a quick buck off the less fortunate or the vulnerable. welcome to the real world.

How could they treat a saint walking among the masses such as yourself that way?

BKennedy on May 27, 2014 at 12:22 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

and the goverment can do that if all the naysayers would just get out of the way and let it do its job. throwing veterans to the mercy of the private sector is a recipe for disaster. who will be looking out for their best interests?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Hey moron – fixing the VA was an Obama priority in 2007, and he is now getting them killed on waiting lists.

crrr6 on May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Why do you want the VA’s union to continue to kill our veterans? Who are you trying to protect?

blink on May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

if theres a problem its got to be the dirty commie unions causing it. amiright?

so predictable.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:41 PM

and the goverment can do that if all the naysayers would just get out of the way and let it do its job. throwing veterans to the mercy of the private sector is a recipe for disaster. who will be looking out for their best interests?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

They’re KILLING them, you thoughtless ass.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

They’re KILLING them, you thoughtless ass.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

accusing people of murder isnt the most effective way to make your case.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

They’re KILLING them, you thoughtless ass.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

accusing people of murder isnt the most effective way to make your case.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

It’s been proven and documented that VA personnel are deliberately killing vets with waiting periods, and covering it up. Most of the people who’ve been punished are the whistleblowers.

This is happening because of people like you who cover for the killing. You are complicit.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM

accusing people of murder isnt the most effective way to make your case.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

It actually is, which is why Obama’s countless acts of incompetence is finally getting some notice.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Is that the best you’ve got?

Seriously, why do you support the VA unions killing our veterans?

blink on May 27, 2014 at 12:46 PM

please explain how unions killed veterans. the officials being implicated in this arent even union members. they are management. and higher ups in the department are taking action to address their failures. but fixing things takes time. facts have to be gathered, etc. kneejerk reactions help nobody. and privatization is the worst kneejerk reaction of them all.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Now McCain wants a second look at his proposal in the utter failure of Obama’s VA reform policies.

Maybe if you won. But you didn’t so shut up.

Now watch this drive.

- Jugears

pain train on May 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Is your private internet service provider “taking advantage of you?”

they have a monopoly in my community, so yes they are.

How about your morning coffee shop?

i dont touch the stuff.

How about all the other private services you partake of every day?

the ones that take my money without giving me the choices i deserve to have are.

Which I also assume includes your own doctor. When you go in, do you look at him/her down your nose, wondering if he/she is more interested in your wallet than your health?

why else would my doctor make me pay for a bunch of uneccesary tests if not to take my money?

It must be so cruel to live in a world that conspires to take advantage of your every action and preference.

the world is a tough place and there are always people looking to make a quick buck off the less fortunate or the vulnerable. welcome to the real world.

How could they treat a saint walking among the masses such as yourself that way?

BKennedy on May 27, 2014 at 12:22 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Are one of the less fortunate or one of the vulnerable? Sounds like everybody is screwing you over.

(I don’t really care.)

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Seriously, who deserves more protection? Our veterans or the VA unions?

Unions, especially public employee unions, are the largest DNC donors. Veterans aren’t big donors as an organized group, and also probably skew slightly Repub.

Do the math on that. Money talks.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

accusing people of murder isnt the most effective way to make your case.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

?

But they ARE killing them!

Veterans have noticed.

theCork on May 27, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Are one of the less fortunate or one of the vulnerable? Sounds like everybody is screwing you over.

(I don’t really care.)

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

i am well educated and very fortunate so i am usually able to avoid getting screwed, except when i have no other choice. a lot of people are less fortunate then me and cant help it. and these are the people goverment was meant to protect.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

i am well educated and very fortunate so i am usually able to avoid getting screwed, except when i have no other choice. a lot of people are less fortunate then me and cant help it. and these are the people goverment was meant to protect.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Meant, but failed. 2 dozen are dead.

Chuck Schick on May 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM

McCain in 2008: You have nothing to fear from an Obama presidency.

Ward Cleaver on May 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The VA excels in providing quality care for military-service illnesses and injuries, which the private sector cannot match due to its specialized nature.

My daughter, my son and myself are all vets. We’ve experienced that supposed care from the VA that the private sector can not supposedly match. My daughter has been on a waiting list for 6 mofoing years to have a botched surgery corrected. Something no one in the private sector would ever have to worry about if their surgeon messed up. So I’m afraid I’m going to have to call mega-bullchips on the above statement.

If you really want to help vets. I mean really want to help us. Kill the VA. Give us vouchers instead.

HotAirian on May 27, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Hey moron – fixing the VA was an Obama priority in 2007, and he is now getting them killed on waiting lists.

crrr6 on May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Yeah but KOCH BROTHERS!!!!!!!1111!!!elebinty
Obama is GREAT!!!11111!!!!elebinty

You can’t argue with a person that is completely detached from reality. Just because everything big government touches it destroys or takes down to the lowest level is only because of some nefarious evil agents against our one true smartest man in history Obama. This is nothing more than what every collectivist/communist/fascist/socialist/progressive says when their 100% tried and failed policies fail again. See Cuba, USSR, Venezuela….

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Yes, the unions are the problem. The med students and residents who rotate through VA hospitals (i.e. most doctors including myself) are usually shocked by the how lazy and mean the ancillary staff are compared to other hospitals. It’s literally a running joke in med school.

Here’s an old one: What’s the difference between a bullet and a VA nurse?

A bullet can draw blood.
Alternate answer: You can fire a bullet.

There a number of basic functions that VA staff refuse to perform and they have a reputation of being mean because they can’t be fired. People who depend on the good will of others to survive try to foster that good will and demonstrate professionalism. Those who don’t don’t.

The institution will do just enough to mollify the reporters until they move onto something else, but not enough to actually change anything.

xuyee on May 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

i am well educated and very fortunate so i am usually able to avoid getting screwed, except when i have no other choice. a lot of people are less fortunate then me and cant help it. and these are the people goverment was meant to protect.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

The veterans are unfortunate and have no other choice. ‘the government isn’t protecting them. It’s protecting the people who are killing them. Whistleblowers are being punished by the government, and the government is protecting the killers, not the veterans.

Why are you so thick? Even many of the Democrat legislators are outraged about this.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

i am well educated INDOCTRINATED

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Fixed for truth.

The VA excels in providing quality care for military-service illnesses and injuries, which the private sector cannot match due to its specialized nature.

You got that right. When was the last time the private sector killed hundreds of veterans? The Obama VA killing the veterans that the private sector won’t.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The veterans are unfortunate and have no other choice. ‘the government isn’t protecting them.

juliesa on May 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

the goverment doesnt have a monopoly on health care silly.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Why are you doing this? Who are you trying to protect? It’s obvious that you don’t have the best interests of our veterans as your primary concern. You’re more concerned about the unions. You’re a good little communist.

blink on May 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM

i love our veterans. i have several in my very own family. and i certainly do want whats best for them. thats why i fear the consequences of privatizing the va. i dont trust ‘the market’ to look out for them. the market’s hand may be invisible, but so is its heart.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Amazing.

Watching the reaction to The Brain is inconceivable.

Bigbullets on May 27, 2014 at 1:07 PM

$150 billion dollars for less than 9 million veterans treated by the VA.

About $17,000 per year per vet.

We have a little over 21 million vets. That number is sure to go down fairly rapidly–Viet Nam Era vets are going to be dying off.

But that still leaves over $7,000 per vet. Would that buy adequate insurance for them?

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM

The private sector has one thing the VA doesn’t have. Competition.

I don’t know what the VA has to offer that the private sector does not. Burn units, neurological care, reconstructive surgery, prosthesis, physical therapy. ??

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

i love our veterans. i have several in my very own family. and i certainly do want whats best for them. thats why i fear the consequences of privatizing the va. i dont trust ‘the market’ to look out for them. the market’s hand may be invisible, but so is its heart.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Really, what about Vets that live hours from a VA? In my experience I have gotten at least equal if not better care from the VA vs. private sector. It doesn’t have to be full privatization, just have a cut-off, if the VA can’t see you within a certain amount of time you are automatically authorized to seek private care.

Sven on May 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Really, what about Vets that live hours from a VA? In my experience I have gotten at least equal if not better care from the VAprivate sector vs. private sectorVA. It doesn’t have to be full privatization, just have a cut-off, if the VA can’t see you within a certain amount of time you are automatically authorized to seek private care.

Sven on May 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Fixed

Sven on May 27, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Hell has frozen over.

DFCtomm on May 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM

I am a veteran. I would like to see the VA healthcare system phased out. Only give comprehensive coverage tied to years of service. Why should someone who has been a stores clerk for three or four years get the same benefits as someone who has had multiple deployments to the front lines? Or some one who has served 20 years?

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

i am well educated and very fortunate so i am usually able to avoid getting screwed, except when i have no other choice. a lot of people are less fortunate then me and cant help it. and these are the people goverment was meant to protect.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

unions are made up of people exorcising there first ammendment rights to assemble. that is categorically differant from what the greedy profit cults do when they buy elections.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 26, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Sometimes it’s like two different people.

slickwillie2001 on May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Seriously, why do you support the VA unions killing our veterans?

blink

Because he hates the troops, like most libs.

xblade on May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

who will be looking out for their best interests?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

I see.

Veterans can’t look out for their own best interests? The government knows better than the individual?

Spoken like a true socialist.

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

There a number of basic functions that VA staff refuse to perform and they have a reputation of being mean because they can’t be fired. People who depend on the good will of others to survive try to foster that good will and demonstrate professionalism. Those who don’t don’t.

The institution will do just enough to mollify the reporters until they move onto something else, but not enough to actually change anything.

xuyee on May 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I am NOT trying to justify the horrendous actions of which the VA has been and is guilty of.

But I do want to go on record as stating that I have been well treated by VA staff and doctors. (Except that shrink in KC who accused me off lying to her when I said I don’t drink.

“You mean you quit.” “No. I don’t drink.”

The look said it all.)

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 1:26 PM

I see.

Veterans can’t look out for their own best interests? The government knows better than the individual?

why shouldnt the goverment give them a helping hand every now and then?

Spoken like a true socialist.

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

no just someone who respects our troops and their sacrifices and wants them to get what they deserve.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:47 PM

no just someone who respects our troops and their sacrifices and wants them to get what they deserve.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:47 PM

[Knocks fist on forehead] Hello? Anybody home? Are you aware of what this thread is about? Do you know what’s been happening at the V.A.? I just can’t believe anybody could be this stubborn.

TarheelBen on May 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Liar. Your highest priority is protecting the unions. You’ve made that obvious throughout this thread.

blink on May 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM

how have i made that obvious? by stating the simple fact that the va people involved in these cases were management level, not rank and file union types?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Because he hates the troops, like most libs.

xblade on May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

i dont hate the troops. i have several veretans in my own family all of whom i love very much.

and i’m not a ‘lib’, i’m a progressive.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:55 PM

I see.

Veterans can’t look out for their own best interests? The government knows better than the individual?

why shouldnt the goverment give them a helping hand every now and then?

Spoken like a true socialist.

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

no just someone who respects our troops and their sacrifices and wants them to get what they deserve.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 1:47 PM

The way you can best respect me (and those like me) is by letting me decide what I deserve and what is in my best interests. Doing something for me stems from the assumption that I can’t do it myself.

Could you be any more condescending towards a group you claim to, as your President put is, ‘rspect’?

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The reason the veterans couldn’t get care is because the VA wastes taxpayer money by being forced to overstaff with ineffective union employees that can’t be fired. You are the one trying to protect these employees instead of protecting the veterans.

blink on May 27, 2014 at 2:05 PM

so now the problem is that the va is overstaffed? that makes a lot of sense, genius.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 2:08 PM

i dont hate the troops. i have several veretans in my own family all of whom i love very much.

Yes you do, your family not withstanding. You would hate them too if they weren’t family. Deep inside you probably still do. The internal struggle must be quite frustrating, lol.

and i’m not a ‘lib’, i’m a progressive.

ThisIsMyMouthOnKoch

Like I said…you’re a lib.

So, why do you hate the troops, lib?

xblade on May 27, 2014 at 2:10 PM

so now the problem is that the va is overstaffed? that makes a lot of sense, genius.

ThisIsMyMouthOnKoch

So you read as well as you spell, lol. Maybe try reading his post again genius.

xblade on May 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM

The way you can best respect me (and those like me) is by letting me decide what I deserve and what is in my best interests. Doing something for me stems from the assumption that I can’t do it myself.

Could you be any more condescending towards a group you claim to, as your President put is, ‘rspect’?

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Care to comment?

Washington Nearsider on May 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

the budget for the VA was actually around $140 million this year, with under 7 million vets getting health care

you do the math, we’re paying WAY too much for 3rd world caliber health care– much like we do for education, the USPS, Amtrak, etc…

The VA system is essentially a crony jobs program for its employees, politicians, and connected businesses who get lucrative contracts

I was forced to do 1/3 of my medical training in various VAs over a decade, you wouldn’t believe the stories…

Shut the whole damn thing down, and buy Blue Cross plans for the vets, the same as we do for all the lazy federal employees

thurman on May 27, 2014 at 2:20 PM

thurman on May 27, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Or just let veterans decide what they want in the way of health care.

Plenty of veterans groups that could start doing group purchases on health care or even roll their own… that would be better than this system, that’s for sure.

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

I am a veteran. I would like to see the VA healthcare system phased out. Only give comprehensive coverage tied to years of service. Why should someone who has been a stores clerk for three or four years get the same benefits as someone who has had multiple deployments to the front lines? Or some one who has served 20 years?

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

When I joined the Army in 1987, recruiters and drill sergeants at Basic Training said that if we made it through our hitch honorably we would have medical care for life, although there might be space availability issues. Then that was taken away (under the rubric that that was never the law, and the federal government’s finances mattered more) with the introduction of Tricare. (Far from universally loved, by the way.) I think the current version is that one has to be retired and earning less that x in salary for normal VA care, or have a service-connected disability, or have come from a combat zone within five years.

From my limited observation, VA care, like military medicine, is good to excellent on traumatic care, and highly variable on normal healthcare. I could agree with VA care for traumatic care, like prostheses and other war related problems, and having a voucher system for everything else.

Kevin K. on May 27, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Alternate Headline:

McRage proposes dumping veterans into ObamaCare to get “better” care.

Cuz that’s his proposal – in a nutshell.

HondaV65 on May 27, 2014 at 4:32 PM

If McCain wanted the moral high ground on this he shouldn’t have been such a sh***y candidate and should have had the willingness to use every possible advantage and discrediting factor to stop Obama. McCain’s ego was more important to him than this nation as it has always been.

Now, because of him and other RINO’s like him, he can propose all he wants and his “friend” Reid will fill the amendment tree or leave the bills to rot in committee and nothing will be accomplished. Welcome to what you created old man. Unfortunately almost everyone in the nation, including our veterans, must suffer for it.

deepdiver on May 27, 2014 at 4:36 PM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog May 26

Step 1: don’t barricade war memorials.
MT @BarackObama “Let us never forget their service.” —President Obama

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 5:07 PM

The only thing that POS in the White House cares about …. is that POS in the White House.

GarandFan on May 27, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I’m not surprised that Hot Air won’t or didn’t mention the fact that Mitt Romney suggested vouchers for our military during the 2012 election.

Conservative Samizdat on May 27, 2014 at 5:44 PM