Pork and Promises Won't Fix VA Hospital Mess

Philip Betbeze, June 27, 2014

Based on the bills in conference, legislation to fix the Veterans Administration healthcare system will do little more than paper over problems that result from a fundamentally bad design.

Only in Washington are bureaucratic screw-ups and malingering on a massive scale rewarded so handsomely. In the case of the Veterans Administration hospital wait time scandal, the response to unconscionable cover-ups and bureaucratic failure consists largely of—you guessed it—more money.

Firings and prosecutions may follow, because apparently, Congress will have to pass a law to smooth that process.

What?

Only Congress could come up with a solution to healthcare wait times that essentially asks veterans to keep calm and carry on with the corrupt and unaccountable system responsible for the problem. Not only that, but the same bumblers who brought us this shameful episode get $500 million to hire new doctors and untold billions more to build new hospitals.

Never mind that in the proposed legislation, now in conference committee, there are provisions for those who wait a certain amount of time for an appointment or who live a certain distance from VA care to visit private doctors.

The question no one seems to be asking is why?

Why do we need a separate healthcare system for veterans?

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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