The many commenters and contributors
to THCB who have been touting the VA as the pinnacle of US health care—and
basing their conclusion that what we need is not ‘Medicare for All’,
but rather ‘VA Care for All’—have some explaining to do.
In this article, which reports the McClatchy
News Service’s investigation into the claims of the VA—the real
truth is not so rosy.
UPDATE: (5.11.07) Ed comments: McClatchy’s Washington bureau has set up a blog where you’ll find more detail on this story as well as related pieces on the military healthcare system.
In trying to assess the quality of any healthcare system (or insurer for that matter), it is most instructive, I think, to determine how well it serves patients when they need it most — when they suffer a catastrophic medical event or need services that cost a significant amount of money, even at contract rates. Was the care timely and effective? How well did the insurer meet its contractual financial obligations? Were there any unpleasant surprises?
If someone tells me that they are satisfied with their healthcare, but they are healthy and rarely need to access the system, and only then for minor issues, that’s not very valuable input, in my opinion.