Tags: Health Topics | Healthcare Reform | Veterans | veterans administration | healthcare | privatization

Fear of VA Privatization Splits Dems, GOP

Image: Fear of VA Privatization Splits Dems, GOP

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Dec 2016 12:19 PM

Legislators are preparing to battle over privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs, despite the fact that neither party has proposed this, The Washington Examiner reports.

Democrats fear that Republicans will try to privatize the VA during incoming President-elect Donald Trump's administration, but the GOP argue that privatization hasn't been a part of their talks on the VA, and that Democrats are sounding the alarm in an attempt to distract from the department's failings.

"It's a deliberate attempt to mislead people about Donald Trump's reform plan and others' reform plans, including House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller's reform plan," Dan Caldwell, Concerned Veterans for America legislative director, told the Examiner.

Miller, along with Sen. John McCain and other veteran advocates, supported the VA's Choice Program, a piece of legislation that allows veterans to bypass the VA if they live far from a facility or cannot schedule an appointment in the time they need.

"It's a false attack designed to undermine these reforms, because what this is ultimately really about is preserving the argument for single-payer healthcare, which many on the left obviously want," Caldwell said.

"Many on the left, for many years, held up the VA as an example of the government wanting to do single-payer healthcare," he added. "This is ultimately [about] proving that government-run, top-down healthcare works."

Jim Wright, former president of Dartmouth University and veterans' movement historian, cited recent independent studies, such as one from the Rand Corporation, that show the VA providing health care that is as good or better than private healthcare. However, the department has failed in providing better access to that care.

"There needs to be more choice but I think the private sector should not be the first choice," Wright told Politico. "We have to attach a priority to looking after the veteran. They need a dedicated agency and that agency needs to rededicate itself. There is a lot of focus on the recent veterans but the older veterans who are served most by the VA have a different set of needs. Some are quite pressing."

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Legislators are preparing to battle over privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs, despite the fact that neither party has proposed this, The Washington Examiner reports.
veterans administration, healthcare, privatization
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2016-19-06
Tuesday, 06 Dec 2016 12:19 PM
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