VA’s trou­bles high­light re­al­i­ties of ra­tioning

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the story “VA to send more vets to pri­vate care” (Mod­ern­Health­, May 27), the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment is an ex­am­ple of sin­gle­payer, govern­ment-pro­vided health­care. Those in­di­vid­u­als who are el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive ser­vices un­der the VA sys­tem de­pend upon VA med­i­cal cen­ters and physi­cians to sat­isfy all their health­care needs. Tax­pay­ers pro­vide all the funds nec­es­sary to op­er­ate the huge VA sys­tem. In­her­ent in such a sys­tem is the need to ra­tion care. Ul­ti­mately, de­mands for “free” health­care ser­vices must ex­ceed ex­ist­ing re­sources. The re­cent scan­dals in­volv­ing se­cret “wait­ing lists” may rep­re­sent abu­sive prac­tices, but the re­al­ity of ra­tioning in sin­gle-payer sys­tems can­not be de­nied.

Dan Groszkruger Prin­ci­pal Solana Beach, Calif.

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