Under the Radar

Sound Off: Should the U.S. Privatize the VA?


Everyone knows that Department of Veterans Affairs medical care needs a lot of improvement. Thousands of veterans can't get care as quickly as they need it and then there are the really disheartening administrative disasters at VA hospitals like the recent one at the Tomah VA Hospital in Wisconsin or the 2014 scandal at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix.

There are claims that the Concerned Veterans of America (CVA), a group funded by the Koch Brothers, wants to disband the VA, requiring all veterans to get private healthcare. The CVA disagrees with those claims,  but its proposals would allow for a panel appointed by the president to review and possibly close some VA medical centers while using the money saved to open up more veteran health care to the private market.

During the election, Democrats suggested that President-elect Trump supports that position. That's not really the case, but Trump did call the VA "almost a corrupt enterprise" and suggested that veterans should have more private care options than they currently do.

Still, questions about privatization of the VA led dozens of veterans groups to unite and tell the incoming president's transition team during a meeting at American Legion headquarters that they strongly oppose any such move.

Veterans groups support a strong VA with private care to fill in the gaps and help vets who live in remote locations receive care when a VA hospital isn't close by.

Obviously, many veterans have service-related injuries and psychological issues that fall outside of the business models used by private insurance companies. A poorly-run VA is no help to anyone, but a reformed Veterans Administration that's focused on veteran needs might be the best way to go.

What do you think? Should the VA be privatized? Or do veterans deserve a dedicated medical system that's devoted to their unique needs? Sound off!

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