Don't Dismantle the VA

J. David Cox | Defense One | August 22, 2016

Veterans care should not become a profit-making enterprise that serves no one better than its financial backers.

After the Department of Veterans Affairs’ waitlist scandal gained national attention two years ago, most Americans’ first instinct was to look for ways to make things better. But some political insiders and corporate funders saw only an opportunity to make billions off the wounds of our veterans. What followed was an unprecedented smear campaign to discredit the and promote private insurance as a viable alternative to the highly specialized, integrated, and cost-effective Veterans Health Administration.

Despite objective research showing that the is far superior to the chaotic private sector, and that veterans overwhelmingly prefer care, profiteers are now closer than ever to succeeding. Two years ago, the Commission on Care was chartered to find ways to improve veterans’ health care.  But the composition of the commission foretold its recommendations. Comprised of high-level health care industry executives and a Koch brothers-backed pseudo-veterans’ organization, the commission recommended taking the first steps toward destroying the using a corporate-style governance board that would conduct a -like process for shutting  hospitals.

In early July, weeks ahead of the public release of its final report, the commission leaked an advance copy. In the report, the biased commission advocated dismantling the nation’s most efficient and effective health care provider—the – leaving veterans to fend for themselves and giving hospital corporations a lucrative new profit center. Under the Orwellian label of “community care,” the commission recommended veterans leave their existing community-based system, and receive care from higher-cost private providers...