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John Fund: VA Rationing Also Will Happen With Obamacare

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 07:09 PM

The Veterans Administration healthcare scandal is comparable to what could eventually happen under the Affordable Care Act, says John Fund, national affairs columnist for National Review Online.

"We have eight hospitals in eight states that are involved. There are a total of 150 VA hospitals. Each one, they have their own separate story to tell," Fund told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I suspect the pattern is going to be the same wherever this is done, which is the pattern of every government-run healthcare system.

"You have infinite demand because the government says we want to provide healthcare for everyone who's eligible, we'll expand eligibility, and the demand for healthcare is infinite,'' he said Wednesday.

The VA scandal stems from allegations that its facility in Phoenix kept chronically ill patients on a secret waiting list — an act that may have caused the deaths of at least 40 veterans.

"We all would like to see a doctor everyday sometimes if we want,'' Fund said.

"If you don't restrict on the basis of price, which is our market system, you're going to restrict to the basis of rationing, and this happens in Canada, it happens in Britain, and rationing means that you wait in line.

"If the [need] to reduce those waiting lists or time waiting is big enough, you have people manipulate the lists, play politics, and people die as a result because they may not know they're on the wrong list or hidden list.''

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Fund said that with the creation of the ACA, the government has expanded access to healthcare to 25 million more Americans.

"At the same time, many doctors are retiring early. An increasing number are not taking Medicaid or Medicare patients, so you're going to see a lot of pent-up demand, which will mean waiting lists,'' he said.

"It'll be enormous pressure to mitigate those waiting lists. One way they do it in Britain is they find out directly or indirectly where and when they're going on vacation.

"Let's say you have an elective surgery scheduled, they will offer you the surgery while they know you're on vacation. When you turn it down, then you go to the bottom of the waiting list.''

Fund says there's "no reason" such manipulation couldn't occur in the United States as well.

On the issue of whether the tea party was weakened by the results of Tuesday's GOP primaries, Fund says it is much ado about nothing.

"You can define the tea party any way you wish, and what the media often does is says whoever lost was a member of the tea party,'' he said.

"In Oregon, you had two challengers . . . a doctor, Monica Wehby, who was the favorite of the Washington consultants, and a state legislator named Jason Conger. Both of them were conservative, but by Oregon standards, not by standards in other states.

"Neither of them was officially tea party. None of them ran as the tea party candidate, and what does the media do? They say, Jason Conger, who lost, he was a tea party guy. So you can define anyone as tea party because there's no membership list. There's no party registration.''

Fund added that the strong interest in the primaries reveals that the GOP is a force to be reckoned with in the midterm elections.

"No wonder the Democrats are being so desperate and hurling out charges of racism, sexism, elitism, classism,'' he said.

"They've lost on the issues, so they're reduced to name-calling."

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The Veterans Administration healthcare scandal is comparable to what could eventually happen under the Affordable Care Act, says John Fund, national affairs columnist for National Review Online.
John Fund, National, Review, VA

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