Veterans are the healthcare canary in a coal mine
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted June 2, 2014
Between today and June 6th's 70th anniversary of the D–Day landing I want you to find a veteran and talk to him. This doesn't mean cornering some unsuspecting vet and ambushing him with the latest insipid leftist cliché: ‘Thank you for your service,' which manages to be both pretentious and condescending.
(However, it is an improvement over the left's former greeting for vets: ‘How many babies did you kill today?' But it's still rote trivialization.)
Ideally your vet should be a veteran of either the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam War. Not because the fighting was far enough in the past be non–controversial, but because this vet has had plenty of time to experience the tender mercies of the Veterans Administration health care system.
And that system should be the main topic of conversation, because if the left has its way, everyone will experience this type of health care under the coming Obamacare regime. Don't make the mistake — encouraged by the cheerleading mainstream media — of believing the VA is a problem unto itself and has no relation to civilian health care and certainly no relevance to the future of Obamacare.
That is spin and it is completely untrue. The VA hospital system is essentially the pilot program for Obamacare. It's been a single–payer system from the beginning and single–payer is the ultimate goal for Obamacare. The VA system was designed to accommodate a smaller subset of the population and it was immune to competition from the private sector. Think of it as the United States Postal Service with syringes.
The theory is after the bugs have been worked out of the pilot program, then a benevolent government can expand it to accommodate the entire country. Unfortunately with leftist big government, when a pilot program fails the verdict is always the failure was due to a lack of resources. The cure is to take the same program, bulk it up with taxpayer dollar injections and make it mandatory for the entire country.
So the VA is very relevant to Obamacare
Our veterans have been used as guinea pigs since 1930 when the VA was founded. One would think 84 years is long enough to get the kinks worked out of the program, but one would be wrong. VA hospital horror stories have been a staple of government scandal coverage for years.
If you fall for the ‘it's just the VA and won't affect civilians' cover story then you are believing what the Obama administration wants you to believe. The goal of the White House is to keep the VA scandal bottled up in a silo off to one side. Obama wants you to think it's just a rogue VA hospital in Arizona that cooked the books.
But it's not just Arizona. It's Florida, it's West Virginia, it's Missouri, it's all over the country. And the problem can't be solved because there is no real penalty for failure and no competitive pressure to excel. And the same government that runs the VA will soon be running Obamacare if the left can expand it into a single–payer system.
My family has its own story of an encounter with the Oklahoma – Texas VA administration. One of my uncles — a WWII veteran — fell ill and went to the VA for treatment in the 50's. The good doctors said he had suffered a nervous breakdown and they hospitalized him in the mental wing.
Today suffering a nervous breakdown means you are forever immune to negative job performance reviews and the Angel of Downsizing will probably pass over you, too. But in the 50's a mental problem was the kiss of death.
My uncle lost his career, his wife and his future. He was in and out of VA hospitals for two decades trying to find a cure so he could reassemble the shards of what had been a normal life. And then one fine day he got a new VA doctor. This doctor announced that my uncle had never had any mental problems and that all his difficulties had been caused by an undiagnosed and untreated brain tumor that had been growing in his skull since the first time he saw the inside of a VA hospital.
So my uncle went home to the bedroom he'd inhabited in my grandmother's house since he lost everything he held dear. And he thought about his life. And he thought about what he had lost. And he carefully took a blanket off his bed, went over to the gas space heater, sat down on the floor, covered his head with the blanket and turned on the gas.
So my family knows all about VA medical care and we want no part of it.
These poor vets were promised first–class health care in return for going to war. Instead they received secret waiting lists, bureaucrat cover-ups, buck passing and incompetent care.
On the other hand the rest of us, that haven't gone to war, have been promised we could keep our doctor and our insurance.
So find a veteran and ask him how the government keeps its promises.
The continual problems of the VA health care system are what the rest of the country will face if Obamacare isn't stopped in its tracks. Government can't run a smaller health care network and it certainly can't run universal health care.
Our veterans have been the canary in the health care coalmine for decades, but Uncle Sam just keeps replacing the dead canaries with new ones.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of the forthcoming book: "Funny Conservative" Is Not an Oxymoron. (Or any other type of moron).