5-30-14 – VA Health Scandal

by John McClaughry

The Veterans Administration hospital scandal is much in the news. Last week the preliminary independent report found that at the Phoenix VA hospital 1,700 veterans were kept on unofficial wait lists. Meanwhile the Inspector General found that the VA reported 43 percent of the veterans surveyed having to wait 14 days for an appointment – but the real number was 84 percent.

42 VA facilities across the country are now under investigation for possible abuse of scheduling practices. President Obama, for whom the workings of his government are a never ending surprise, found this “deeply troubling”.  Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared he wasn’t waiting, but would do something right away.

The easy lesson from this is that when you have a government as big as ours, something will always be going wrong somewhere, no matter who’s in charge. But there’s a deeper lesson. And that is, when there is infinite demand for services provide to many people, and a fixed budget, the people running the system have to find some way to allocate the budget as best they can without punishing themselves, deny services to those deemed least important, and cover their tracks before the inspectors show up. That’s called “government run health care”.

This is precisely the proposed working of Gov. Shumlin’s government run health system, Green Mountain Care. Under it, mark my words, providers will be forced to somehow deny services when the money runs out.

John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ronald Pal June 1, 2014 at 6:49 am

Get Ben Carson as a guest speaker on these topics for a Caledonia County function.I know that he agrees with you so much. Getting Ben Carson up here would certainly raise a few eyebrows around here.. Use your influence with new party chair Hank Parker and just DO IT. You know the saying about aiming high.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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