This is a program that would give veterans the option of going to a private sector doctor in lieu of playing the delay wait game at a Veterans Administration facility, after the veteran has jumped through the requisite VA hoops. After a political tussle in Congress over increasing/renewing its funding, some additional money was provided. That additional funding was necessitated because
its popularity depleted the allocated funds more quickly than anticipated. Patient visits through the program increased more than 30% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, according to the VA.
Extra points for those of you who can say why the program is so popular.
Despite the success of this limited program, the Progressive-Democrats in Congress want to get rid of it. Congressman Mark Takano (D, CA), for instance,
argued on the House floor in July that it’s a “mistaken belief that the private sector is better equipped to care for our nation’s veterans than specialized VA doctors.” But while the VA provides high-quality specialized care in certain areas, for the most part veterans’ needs are similar to everyone else’s.
Indeed. Takano and his fellow Progressive-Democrats just want to maintain control over OPM. It’s a mistaken belief that the private sector cannot care for our nation’s veterans better than specialized VA doctors. As Burgess and Cleland (authors of the piece at the link) note, mostly our veterans’ needs are similar to everyone else’s.
Those few specialized needs unique to a veteran’s particular military history? The VA’s specialists, functioning in the private sector, can deal with those at least as well as they do now, and probably better and faster without the VA’s bureaucratic impediments.
Make the Veteran’s Choice Program functionally universal: privatize the VA, and use its current and what would have been its future budgets for veterans’ vouchers.
Veteranos Administratio delende est.