Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama administration stumbles on veterans healthcare-- but in the process demonstrates that government run health care works better than private care

This is the first time I think I've made a post in which I publically disagree with something proposed by the Obama administration. But there is a subtext which is worth pointing out as well.

The administration, after receiving a lot of flack from the American Legion and other veterans groups backed down from a proposal that they made that veterans who receive serious war wounds should use private health insurance to pay for the cost of ongoing care and treatment for those wounds. The plan, which would be an extension of a Bush administration plan that now forces veterans to rely on private insurance to pay for the treatment of non-war related illnesses and injuries, would significantly have reduced the role of the Federal Government in providing health care for veterans.

The administration had said that the government would save $540 million by the plan, but without pointing out that by shifting the burden of treatment to private insurers, those insurers would in turn have to recover their costs by boosting premiums, from their premium-payers, namely the veterans themselves.

I for one am glad that the administration has backed down on this. If anyone deserves to have the cost of their treatment paid for in full by the Federal government it is the veterans who have left limbs, eyes and other body parts strewn on battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

There is an interesting subtext here however. Given a choice between government provided and paid health care, or health care paid for by private insurance, this group of Americans didn't just prefer, but in fact demanded, the government-run and paid version.

That's not to say that there isn't a place for private health insurance within our health care system, but if a conservative organization (and the American Legion certainly is that) is ready to go all out to try and preserve government health care for their members so they wouldn't have to depend on private insurance, then maybe it isn't so bad after all, now is it?

No comments: