karl_lembke (karl_lembke) wrote,

Walter Reed and the Joys of Government Run Health Care

I made this comment on a friend's post, and decided to copy it here, where I could find it more easily.

Since the VA is doing such a fine job attending to our vets, implementing a single-payer, single-provider national health care plan is a no-brainer. As Col. Jeff Bearor writes:
The facts are that succeeding administrations and Congresses, Republican and Democrat, consistently have been cutting health care and other quality-of-life support to military members and their families for at least 30 years. So, forgive me if it escapes me why Congress is acting so surprised. Congress got exactly what they always get: just what they paid for.

Since the end of the Viet Nam War, the sections of the military budgets that pay for things like service member and family health care, military family housing, after-service and in-service education assistance, and even military retirement, have been cut and cut. I can't count the number of military hospitals that have been closed over the past 20 years forcing more and more military families to go off-base for medical support and concentrate what was left into a few impersonal "mega" military health centers.

And then again, over at TCS, Michael Cannon has a different suggestion:
Suppose that instead of providing those benefits itself, the federal government increased military pay enough to enable new personnel to purchase private insurance to cover service-related injuries and illnesses. (Those include illnesses that manifest themselves years later, such as mental illnesses or birth defects that result from exposure to hazardous substances.)
It seems to me that a better approach would be to give vouchers to all personnel currently in the system, but increase pay and let private carriers insure against service-related injuries for all new enlistments and commissions. Such a system could improve the quality of care for vets. It also would give Congress, the armed forces, and the public a lot of very useful information about the costs of foreign policy decisions.
Tags: medicine, politics

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