05 Mar 2007 The Veterans Administration: Not So ‘Lean And Efficient’ After All
David Hogberg writes:
When arguing for socialized medicine, the political left loves to point to the Veterans Administration as a government system that gets it right and can be used as a model for a government-run health care system for the entire nation. For example, Paul Krugman once wrote:
The fact is that in health care, the private sector is often bloated and bureaucratic, while some government agencies — notably the Veterans Administration system — are lean and efficient.
Well, the recent ruckus over Walter Reed Hospital has resulted in a look at the Veterans Administration by Newsweek. And the resulting article can’t be good news for the lefties:
A Newsweek investigation focused not on one facility but on the services of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a 235,000-person bureaucracy that provides medical care to a much larger number of servicemen and women from the time they’re released from the military, and doles out their disability payments. Our reporting paints a grim portrait of an overloaded bureaucracy cluttered with red tape; veterans having to wait weeks or months for mental-health care and other appointments; families sliding into debt as VA case managers study disability claims over many months, and the seriously wounded requiring help from outside experts just to understand the VA’s arcane system of rights and benefits.
Folks like Krugman should know better than to use the terms “government agencies” and “lean and efficient” in the same sentence, unless that sentence is “Government agencies are not lean and efficient.”