Tonawanda News

Columns

February 5, 2013

CONFER: Vouchers for veterans

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Were that to happen in the private sector, doctors, nurses, and even hospitals would lose their employment and their licenses. Not in the VA system. It is, after all, a federal bureaucracy.

The barrage of local media reports and federal investigations concerning the Buffalo fiasco show a total lack of accountability amongst higher ups there and at the top of the federal chain of command. No one has been fired. The cross-functional domino effect has moved at a turtle’s pace. 

It’s a repeat of the 2009 HIV scare when 3 months after the initial announcement the VA discovered that half of their medical centers still had not developed cleaning procedures, nor could they show that they properly trained their staff. Not surprisingly, no one in a position of responsibility lost their job because of the colonoscopy incidents. The closet the VA came to that? The head of the Miami VA clinic was only reassigned.

It doesn’t make ethical and moral sense to subject our veterans to such a system, so set in its ways and so averse to change. The VA has no reason or will to change because it’s a monopoly. They have a captive audience and there is no competition allowed for it.

One of the greatest aspects of free markets and free choice is competition … the dueling participants (individuals or organizations) will always aspire to offer and/or acquire the best, most diverse and effective products or services possible. Without that motivation, limitations and suspect quality rule the day.

We need to allow our vets some of that freedom (after all, didn’t they fight for freedom?) and give them the ability to choose the care they want, from whom they want, and from where they want. They shouldn’t be limited to a single source. Let them get their care from a VA medical center if they’d like. Let them get their care from a Kalieda medical center if they’d like.

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