Don’t Use the VA Scandal to Derail Health Reform

Paul Krugman cautions that the Veterans Affairs scandal “could cause us to lose sight of a much bigger scandal: the almost surreal inefficiency and injustice of the American health care system as a whole. And it’s important to understand that the Veterans Affairs scandal, while real, is being hyped out of proportion by people whose real goal is to block reform of the larger system.”

“As you might guess, conservatives don’t like the observation that American health care performs worse than other countries’ systems because it relies too much on the private sector and the profit motive. So whenever someone points out the obvious, there is a chorus of denial, of attempts to claim that America does, too, offer better care. It turns out, however, that such claims invariably end up relying on zombie arguments — that is, arguments that have been proved wrong, should be dead, but keep shambling along because they serve a political purpose.”

“So here’s what you need to know: It’s still true that Veterans Affairs provides excellent care, at low cost … but Congress has provided neither clear guidelines on who is entitled to coverage, nor sufficient resources to cover all applicants.”

“A scandal is a scandal, and wrongdoing must be punished. But beware of people trying to use the veterans’ care scandal to derail health reform.”

  • 66kicks

    Folks who complain about “government health care” inefficiencies have obviously never actually dealt with private health care insurers. Today I received a note from Blue Cross about a recent dental claim, telling me that it has to be processed by the local agency in the area where the medical service was rendered. Mind you, we’re talking one Blue Cross company versus another one, all in the same state. Or maybe not, since nowhere on the statement was there a name or address of the relevant local part of Blue Cross.

    I consider myself fortunate that Blue Cross will forward my claim to the appropriate insurer. But in the final analysis I DON’T CARE which Blue Cross unit handles the claim. I use Blue Cross because they offer nationwide coverage, and I don’t need to know details of how they run their business as long as claims are processed fairly, efficiently, and rapidly.