A Thought on Government and Enterprise

This is from The Washington Times.

[T]he Obama administration first received clear notice more than five years ago about the need for an overhaul to reduce patient wait times.

“Excessive wait times are addressed by moving to a resource-based management system,” Veterans Affairs technology officials told the Obama-Biden transition team in a briefing report that included mention of VA’s “schedule replacement” project.

And this [emphasis added]:

“VA has been trying—and failing—to replace its outpatient scheduling system since 2000, wasting nearly $130 million in the process,” Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told The Times when asked about the delays.

“Because VA acquisition officials have proven time and again they are simply too inept to guide the development of a new proprietary appointment-scheduling system in an expedient and cost-effective manner, department leaders need to look at adopting commercial technologies that are being used in the private sector….”

It’s easy enough to knock President Barack Obama and his administration over this, and President George Bush’s administration had a hand in this, too. It’s also easy to hammer the Veterans Affairs Department. However, the problem isn’t about any particular President’s failure to deal with a problem, nor is it about the broad failure of the VA to perform.

No, this is an illustration of the general inability of government to do as well as private enterprise anything that private enterprise can do in a competitive market: if private enterprise can do a thing at all, it can within very broad limits do it better than government (national defense and foreign policy come to mind as things better left to the Federal government, but not much else). The Federal government cannot compete with private enterprise on efficiency at all.

In sum, such things should be left to the private sector of our economy, and the government should just stay out. In the particular case, this means that the VA should be disbanded and the VA’s annual budget sent to our veterans as vouchers with which they can find their own doctors, their own medical facilities, their own health plans.

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  1. Pingback: Another VA Problem | A Plebe's Site

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