Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Enthusing about the VA

TruthRevolt has dug up some very embarrassing encomiums delivered by prominent progressives praising the Veterans Administration and the example it affords us of government competence and the advantages of socialized medicine.

As TruthRevolt notes, herein lies the problem for the left: "The failures at the VA, including its bureaucratic incompetence, its waiting lists, and its deaths, all debunk the notion that a government-run healthcare system will work. It’s a fresh slap in the face to all those commentators who, in pushing Obamacare, endorsed the VA as a model."

Indeed. Here's Paul Krugman in 2011 writing about the VA as an exemplar of socialized medicine:
Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.
Krugman added, “Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine’…But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.”

The Wall Street Journal has more such silliness from Krugman here, but before you check it out, read this from another NYT writer Nicholas Kristof in 2009:
Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment.
And here's Princeton's Uwe Reinhardt writing in the Times last year:
Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the V.A. health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans? Or do they just not care about them?
TruthRevolt has uncovered more praise for the VA and socialized medical care from the RAND Corporation, Ezra Klein in the Washington Post, and Jonathan Golob at The Seattle Stranger. You can read their embarrassing praise for socialized medicine and the VA at the link.

Little wonder that even the left is angry with the Obama administration over revelations of the VA's failures. Those revelations have made them laughingstocks, stripped them of one of their best arguments for socialized medicine, and given their opponents yet another compelling argument against turning our lives over to a government that professes omnicompetence while showing itself almost daily to be astonishingly incompetent.

Meanwhile, as if to rub salt in the progressives' wounds, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it will be directing vets to private hospitals to get the care they've been denied at the government run VA hospitals. In other words, though it may come as a surprise to the columnists at the New York Times, the VA has recognized that private facilities are much better equipped to do the job than are government facilities.

It must be tough being liberal when so much of what you believe is at such stark variance with reality.