So. I’m at the VA hospital in Long Beach, CA today.
No, I’m fine, thanks for asking. I brought a friend to his appointment. He’s trying to get some vision equipment to help him see well enough to maintain his independence.
Whenever people want to implement universal healthcare, they use the VA as an example of how it could work. OK. If that’s what you want to base your argument on…
Most of my experiences with the VA have had decent outcomes. But there’s a couple things about that you should realize. First, I’ve had limited need for their services. I’m a “low impact” customer. A doctors appointment for me takes 3 minutes with the nurse to check my vitals, and 3 minutes with the doctor to review and renew my prescriptions. But there are a ton of veterans with significant, complex health issues. They take a heck of a lot more time and resources. And the resources of the VA are finite. Further, dealing with the bureaucracy of the VA is a flaming pain. Did you know not all honorably discharged veterans are eligible to receive treatment? If you made too much money last year, and your health issues aren’t directly connected to your service, too bad about you.
And while the care I (and my friend) have received has been decent, I’ve seen better. During my Dad’s last illness, I became something of a connoisseur of hospitals. Even the worst of the private hospitals he was in were able to provide a better standard of care. The best of the private hospitals was light years ahead of the VA.
I’m not knocking the VA here. They try hard. But the fact of the matter is, they don’t, and never will, have the resources to provide the level of care and treatment that they would like. And I may not be a mathmagician, but I can’t figure out any accounting method that would allow universal healthcare to avoid the same problem.