Liberals touted VA hospitals as proof that goverment-run healthcare works

The lessons, he said, were that the incentives created by its integrated care model led to less waste and better quality care. “(Y)es, this is ‘socialized medicine,’” Krugman wrote, noting that some private enterprises also took a similar approach. “But it works — and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of U.S. health care more broadly.”

In a 2007 article for the American Prospect, Ezra Klein also praised the system’s outcomes. “What makes this such an explosive story is that the VHA is a truly socialized medical system,” Klein wrote. “The unquestioned leader in American health care is a government agency that employs 198,000 federal workers from five different unions, and nonetheless maintains short wait times and high consumer satisfaction.”

Both authors cited Phillip Longman, who wrote an influential book on the Left titled Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care is Better Than Yours. Longman, in a 2005 article for the Washington Monthly that led to the book, wrote, “It turns out that precisely because the VHA is a big, government-run system that has nearly a lifetime relationship with its patients, it has incentives for investing in quality and keeping its patients well–incentives that are lacking in for-profit medicine.”