Sunday, April 08, 2007

Government Health Care Doesn't Work: See the VA

Part of war funding is preventative (missle shields), active (combat troops and equipment), passive (military bases, technology, R&D) and post-combat (wounded, reassimilation, etc.). It seems to me that America has been so out of practice and so defunded militarily that parts and pieces of all these aspects of war readiness have been ignored. It is especially egregious to know that Vets from all wars receive sub-standard and mismanaged care, but truly there hasn't been the funding or stream-lining of beaurocracy (an oxymoron if I've ever written one) to efficiently help Vets.

Still, it is important to remember that beaurocracies in general are uncaring beasts. Private doctors know the frustration of dealing with insurance companies, as do patients, trying to get care they need. At least with private insurance, there is some recourse. A vet has no recourse, really, with the government--except through elected officials. The Washington Post finds a disgruntled Vet who says:

"Once we can no longer be utilized as a soldier, we are of no use to them," said Michael Foley, 52, a former Navy intelligence specialist who served in Vietnam and Cyprus during the 1970s. "There is an impression of indifference when you are dealing with the VA benefits people. They are going to get a paycheck no matter what."
I don't believe the first part at all. All branches of the government do care, but are rather impotent to do anything about it without being irresponsible with the taxpayer dollar. The second part of his concern is true. With insurance workers and claims advisors (doctors who couldn't make it in real practice) detatched from their client's plight, what difference does it make?

I remember a story about a patient who pulled a gun on a doctor because his Workers Comp benefits didn't come fast enough and he was about to lose his home. He was in pain, out of money, absolutely hysterical and didn't know who to blame. Like any institution, the government is very efficient at taking in money, but not so efficient in disbursing it. And citizens have little recourse.

The solution is not more government. The solution is private industry. At least there would be some accountability.