Should we privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs?
via AP

Should we privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs?

#NoPrivateVA
#PrivatizeTheVA
Join the conversation and vote below

Former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that privatizing the V.A. and the health care services it provides, in particular, would hurt the well-being of our veterans. But conservatives have long argued that privatizing the V.A. is a common-sense solution that would solve a majority of the department's ongoing problems by ensuring accountability. What do you think? 🎖️

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#NoPrivateVA
72%
#PrivatizeTheVA
28%

In a powerful New York Times op-ed, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin argues the Trump administration's desire to privatize the V.A. will only hurt veterans.

I believe differences in philosophy deserve robust debate, and solutions should be determined based on the merits of the arguments. The advocates within the administration for privatizing V.A. health services, however, reject this approach. They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans.

Shulkin believes the V.A. has become a pawn in advancing the political agendas of some without regard for the veterans it is meant to serve, and turning the department over to the private sector will only worsen the problem. With regard to health care, in particular, Shulkin notes the private health care system already fails to serve many communities as is, and adding military veterans with unique needs to the mix will only make things worse.

The private sector, already struggling to provide adequate access to care in many communities, is ill-prepared to handle the number and complexity of patients that would come from closing or downsizing V.A. hospitals and clinics, particularly when it involves the mental health needs of people scarred by the horrors of war.

Simply put, the private sector is ill-equipped to meet the needs of veterans, and the department should operate solely to serve veterans, not motivated by profit or to serve private interest groups. 

But others argue privatizing the V.A. is just common sense. Former Congressman John Linder (R-GA) argues it is actually the V.A. that is ill-equipped to meet veterans' needs, and the private sector would do a much better job at providing quality care to the people who deserve it most.

The VA should be privatized because government simply doesn’t see individuals. Government sees groups.
Government bureaucrats work for their boss. Whether the program is food stamps, farm subsidies or veterans’ care, the individual at the receiving end of the program is merely the means to an end. The end is the pay and the bonus. If the boss is pleased, you will be rewarded.

Veterans fought and served our country, and should, therefore, be able to access the best health care options available. If these options exist in the private sector, shouldn't an individual veteran be allowed to make that decision for himself? The government can play a role in treatment for veterans, but so can the private sector. In areas where the government comes up short, why not have the private sector fill in?

There is a role for the government in veterans’ healthcare. It is not the common cold, gall bladder surgery or dentures. Not even cancer. There are private facilities with newer tools and techniques that are better equipped for patient care... The government’s role in veterans’ care should then be focused entirely on matters that are the result of war. Traumatic brain injury, amputations, post-traumatic stress and the rehabilitation from those injuries are unique and special, and we should dedicate the entire medical resources of our government toward improving the lives of the wounded and their families.
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