If you want a sneak preview of America’s health care future, feast your eyes on the VA. This is socialized medicine at its finest. Government-run, single-payer style health care. If Obama and his socialist acolytes are correct, the VA ought to be a medical paradise on earth.
But of course it’s not. Every day more news arrives of patient deaths due to delayed access to treatment, mounting waiting lists, fraudulent jiggering of the numbers to conceal failure to treat, and the list goes on.
Here’s the latest, from the Washington Free Beacon:
When (Eric) Shinseki took office (as secretary of Veterans Affairs), he vowed that every disability claim would be processed within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy. But the backlogs only got worse.
It took about four months for VA to process a claim for disability compensation claim when Shinseki was sworn in. By 2012, the average wait time was about nine months.
In February 2013, the Examiner published a five-part series, “Making America’s Heroes Wait,” showing more than 1.1 million veterans with disability claims and appeals were trapped in bureaucratic limbo at VA.
About 70 percent of the 900,000 claims for initial benefits were considered backlogged, meaning they were older than 125 days.
The Examiner series also showed how agency statistics were manipulated to hide mistakes that doomed veterans into appeals that could drag on for years.
Pressure from Congress, veterans groups and the media prompted VA to launch an initiative to reduce the claims backlog.
Claims processors were required to work overtime and the oldest claims — some of which were more than two years old — were given top priority.
The backlog slowly declined. Today, about half of the nearly 600,000 benefits claims are backlogged.
There are about 275,000 appeals, an increase of 25,000 from a year ago.
And the VA is the poster child for death panels, an inevitable outcome when government, which corrodes everything it touches, is placed in charge of health care:
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was reported in Pittsburgh in November 2012. Subsequent investigations by the inspector general and area media eventually linked a half-dozen patient deaths from the disease to faulty maintenance and poor management.
Reports of other deaths followed.
Four patients under VA’s care in Atlanta died of a drug overdose or suicides.
In Columbia, S.C., at least six patient deaths from colorectal cancers were linked to delays in receiving colonoscopies at veterans’ medical facilities.
VA eventually acknowledged that delays in providing care was linked to the deaths of 23 patients who died of gastrointestinal cancers at veterans’ health facilities. Deaths from other conditions were not disclosed.
As with disability claims, there are indications that VA has been hiding long backlogs in delivering health care by manipulating its statistics.
The Examiner reported in February 2014 that backlogged orders for medical care were being mass purged at hospitals in Los Angeles and Dallas.
Citing congressional testimony and VA’s own internal documents, the Examiner found as many as 40,000 medical tests and other procedures were cancelled in Los Angeles and another 13,000 in Dallas.
Earlier this month, the Examiner disclosed a nationwide purge in the past year that cleared 1.5 million backlogged medical orders with no guarantee the patients got the care they needed.
Obamacare is simply the VA on human growth hormones. Whatever the problems are with the VA, they will be multiplied under Obamacare. We have, of course, all read stories of restricted access, doctors who are out of network, hospitals who are out of network, and seriously ill patients with no place to go.
And we’re just getting started. This is all before the system has to incorporate the estimated 144 million who will get dumped onto HumptyDumptyCare by businesses who can’t afford the premiums and don’t want the hassle of trying to conform to Obamacare’s nitpicky regulations. In other words, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Obamacare must be repealed root and branch. There is nothing redeemable here, nothing to save. No Republican who wants to save the good parts of Obamacare should be returned to office for the simple reason that there are no good parts to Obamacare.
The bottom line: we should get the government out health care, period.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.