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148588 tn?1465782409



DEFINITION of 'Privatization'
1. The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a government to a privately owned entity.

1. One of the main arguments for the privatization of publicly owned operations is the estimated increases in efficiency that can result from private ownership. The increased efficiency is thought to come from the greater importance private owners tend to place on profit maximization as compared to government, which tends to be less concerned about profits.

Now we all know that privatization actually means that a private company skims a profit from tax dollars and then tries to provide a service using the money that remains, generally by hiring less qualified employees at a lower wage and fewer benefits. In the name of 'efficiency'. We don't seem to care much when this is done to our prisons. I wonder how this philosophy will go over when applied to our veteran's healthcare.


GOP candidates eye vouchers for veterans

On Veterans’ Day 2011, then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in South Carolina, visiting with roughly a dozen veterans, and raised the prospect of privatizing VA care.

“Sometimes you wonder,” the Republican said, “would there be some way to introduce some private sector competition, somebody else that could come in and say, you know each soldier gets X thousand dollars attributed to them and then they can choose whether they want to go on the government system or the private system and then it follows them.”

Almost immediately, a spokesperson for Veterans Of Foreign Wars announced its opposition to the idea: “The VFW doesn’t support privatization of veterans health care.” That was that – Romney backpedaled soon after, saying he was just kicking around a hypothetical scenario he didn’t intend to pursue.

Four years later, however, the idea is apparently increasingly popular among the new crop of Republican presidential candidates.
[Former Gov. Jeb] Bush, sitting in front of an untouched breakfast at an IHOP in Colorado Springs, told a group of veterans that he favors transferring some elements of veterans’ care to private hospitals from government-run Veterans Affairs facilities.

“This is where I think empowering people with the equivalent of a voucher that gives you the same economic benefit of receiving care inside of a clinic or a hospital,” Mr. Bush said in a video of the public event recorded by the Democratic firm American Bridge. “If you had a chance to go to another place where the money followed the patient, it would give the veterans — you wouldn’t have these kind of hostile reactions, my job is protected for life, don’t mess with it.”
The Florida Republican made a similar comment last month, telling a New Hampshire audience, “I know it has a pejorative for some, but I’m all in on the voucher thing.”

The Wall Street Journal report added that Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have also voiced support for expanded privatization of veterans’ care, which is also a top priority for a conservative group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is backed by the Koch brothers.

The fact that the political winds have shifted to this degree is itself interesting. In the last presidential cycle, Romney was kinda sorta open to the idea of privatization for about a day before the VFW scared him into reversing course. Now, we have multiple candidates endorsing the idea more forcefully and sticking to the position.

Much of this is no doubt the result of the recent controversy surrounding the VA system, coupled with Republican politics continuing to move to the right.

But if this is going to be an issue debated in the 2016 cycle, let’s not forget a detail that often goes overlooked: there’s a difference between the quality of VA care and the quality of the VA system in delivering that care.

As we discussed last May, there’s an apparent belief among some that veterans receive sub-standard treatment at VA facilities, but the evidence clearly shows otherwise. The editorial board of the Washington Post noted a while back that the VA system “as a whole outperforms the rest of the health care system by just about every metric. Surveys also show that veterans give VA hospitals and clinics a higher customer satisfaction than patients give private-sector hospitals.”

Those conclusions are bolstered by ample data. In 2012, RAND Corp. found in nearly every category, “VA patients received consistently better care across the board, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and access to follow-up.” There was also Philip Longman’s 2005 report in the Washington Monthly, highlighting research from the New England Journal of Medicine, which found the quality of care in VA facilities was “significantly better” than private counterparts.

Jon Perr published a detailed Daily Kos piece on the subject last year: “Sending millions of older, sicker Americans – many of them requiring specialized care for rare and complex health problems – into the waiting arms of private insurers, private doctors and private pharmaceutical firms is a recipe for chaos and de facto rationing on a grand scale.”
7 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
There are instances in which veterans should be able to seek care outside the VA system, but, I'd be against total privatization.  When government services are privatized, service tends to decline, because, obviously, the private company is in business to make money, so they cut corners, with cheaper help and cheaper products.

I know many of us have been criticized for bringing personal instances into our comments here, but that's exactly what I'm going to do... in my last job, custodial services were privatized in an effort to save money and the job was pretty much only half done most of the time.  

As far as the VA is concerned, I have numerous family/friends that make use of their services; some get excellent treatment, others not so.  It seems to depend on the area one lives in, the condition(s) being treated and the medical "standard of care" training.
973741 tn?1342346373
The VA can be pretty scary.  They are pretty well known for cutting corners themselves and often the salaried doctors and employees that work for them are not the best.  That is just my opinion from some time spent working with the VA in my state.  

so, Barb, if you are looking at areas, if my loved one was a veteran, I'd imagine they'd seek private care outside the VA anyway.  

By  the way Barb, why would anyone be criticized for bringing their personal instances into discussions?  How else are we supposed to relate to a topic?  

The VA can be very sup par care.
649848 tn?1534637300
Oh, I totally agree that the VA can be pretty scary and are known for cutting corners... we've had quite a few people on the thyroid forum who get their treatment from the VA and they can only get certain tests and very limited medications - they can't get well, because they can't get adequate testing/treatment... Sometimes it's the poor doctors/employees, but most often it's the standard of care that's prescribed for thyroid treatment by the VA and doctors aren't allowed to go beyond that that testing/treatment.

On that same note, I have a distant relative who was working, had insurance and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.  The person was placed on medication and was doing well.  They subsequently lost their job, which meant no insurance, but they were a vet, so they went the VA. VA did very little testing and determined that the person did not have bi-polar disorder and refused medication...  The person obviously needs the medication as they are not doing well, at all.  

In these instances, I would certainly agree that treatment outside the VA would be in order, if one can afford it.

In several other instances, I've had family members in other areas who have received wonderful care in a timely manner and they are/were very satisfied - in those cases, they have/had no desire to seek care anywhere else.

And I do also have a family member who a Nurse Practitioner at one VA hospital.  I can only assume that the person is good at their job and would hopefully, not cut corners with their patients.

SM - as far as I'm concerned, our personal experiences make us who we are and are what allow us to relate to various topics; however, I seem to remember some derogatory remarks along those lines.  I shouldn't have mentioned it as it really wasn't worth consideration.
Avatar universal
The VA is an awful, awful organization in desperate need of an overhaul.  From admissions to diagnostics, to treatment, they are completely incompetent.  I worry about anyone who has to rely on them for help.
163305 tn?1333672171
Any vet seeking help should looking into groups such as the DAV, disabled vets of America,  or vets of foreign wars, who actually are here to help the vets not the veterans administration.
649848 tn?1534637300
They can get certain types of help from DAV and VFW, but the medical care so many of them need and can't afford, comes from the VA and the bad part  is that once they go to VA for medical care, they are not allowed to go anywhere else, unless it's an emergency, without VA approval, which is rarely forthcoming.
163305 tn?1333672171
Thanks for that info.
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