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Veterans Administration

5,600,000 patients (as per the year 2008) out of 7,800,000 persons who are enrolled in the VA

When you read the 2005 article “The Best Care Anywhere” from Washington Monthly, linked below, you will learn about a huge turnaround in the quality of care provided by the Veterans Administration that occurred between the mid-1990’s and 2005. You will read the following about the Veterans Administration health care:
— “The system runs circles around Medicare in both cost and quality.”
— “Unlike Medicare, it’s allowed by law to negotiate for deep drug discounts, and does.”
— “Unlike Medicare, it provides long-term nursing home care.” — “In the latest independent survey, 81 percent of VHA hospital patients express satisfaction with the care they receive, compared to 77 percent of Medicare and Medicaid patients.”
(bolding added)

Does Its Uniqueness Make It Irrelevant during times of war(s)?

On the other hand, since the 2005 article above, the Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals have a tremendous influx of new very sick and/or very injured patients, putting enormous pressure on the system. Perhaps the Veterans Hospital Administration should be considered an irrelevant topic during times of war. VA hospitals have an outstanding electronic medical records system and efficiency in general. However, those hospitals’ patients during times of war(s) are not representative of the general U.S. population.

“The Best Care Anywhere” — “The Best Care Anywhere”, Washington Monthly January/February 2005

“Ten years ago, veterans hospitals were dangerous, dirty, and scandal-ridden. Today, they’re producing the highest quality care in the country. Their turnaround points the way toward solving America’s health-care crisis.”

Additional statistics, as updated by VA in August 2009

Health Care Professionals rotating through VA: 109,882
Number of employees: 292,453
Number of medical centers: 153
Number of outpatient clinics: 768
Number of patients and enrolled persons (above)

Source: Veterans Affairs

Comments: how the above information relates to national single-payer health care, Improved Medicare for All

The above points of the author, such as deep drug discounts and long-term nursing care, are just two of many examples of what Improved Medicare for All will provide us. Along with that, the U.S. could still maintain private physicians offices instead of going to the “socialized medicine” that the Veterans Administration has in its treatment of 5,600,000 patients (as per the year 2008) out of its 7,800,000 persons who are enrolled. The single-payer movement promotes maintaining private physician offices as part of Improved Medicare for All. In other words, the single-payer movement is already compromising (with the position promoted in the Washington Monthly article) in order to help get Medicare for All now, not decades from now. — Bob

Additional Information

What About the Incident(s) at Walter Reed?

“(Ezra) Klein held the VA system up as a shining example of good government health care. Of course that was before the shameful condition of Walter Reed had been discovered.
Reply by Ezra Klein: “Walter Reed is an army hospital, not a veteran’s hospital. The two systems have nothing to do with one another. That’s why the problems at Walter Reed led to the resignation of the Secretary of the Army and not the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”
comments in the Washington Post


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