The news that has unfolded over the last several weeks regarding the negligent care provided to our military veterans in VA Hospitals–resulting in a number of deaths–is nothing short of appalling.
A VA internal review found a link between the deaths of 23 veterans and wait times at VA facilities. “Delays in endoscopy screenings for potential gastrointestinal cancer in 76 veterans treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are linked to 23 deaths, most of them three to four years ago, according to the VA,” USA Today‘s Gregg Zoroya reported on April 8. “The delays occurred at 27 VA hospitals with deaths at 13 of the facilities. The worst record was at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn veterans hospital in Columbia, S.C., where there were 20 cases of delays and six deaths, according to a VA report.”
The news reports continue to sicken Americans, as we learn today from retired Navy Commander Gordon (past spokesman for the Pentagon) that the terrorists at Gitmo receive significantly better treatment than our own veterans!
Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call. Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD? No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.
The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.
While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.
Reports continue to show that veteran deaths were related to long wait times to see their doctors and poor care, all of which is a symptom of a government-run system lacking the outcome-driven incentives of the private sector. Now we are being pushed by Governor McAuliffe and the Democrats to turn Virginia into the VA! McAuliffe wants to add 400,000 able-bodied individuals to Virginia’s Medicaid rolls and further strain a system that is already barely functioning. What do you think that will do to wait times and care of the poor and disabled in Virginia? You need go no further than this study of the Medicaid program in Oregon to understand that more Medicaid equals worse healthcare outcomes for the poor.
It is insane to think that we would bust Virginia’s budget to implement a failing system that will worsen the conditions that already exist in the Medicaid system. Virginia Democrats have a adopted a slick new poll-tested slogan for pressuring Republicans to pass tactic Medicaid Expansion: talk about the uninsured stuck in the “coverage gap.” Recently Democrats sent emails into Tag Greason’s district (Loudoun) and claimed he has 6,200 constituents who are uninsured because they are stuck in the “coverage gap,” in an attempt to shame Greason as a heartless penny-pincher.
What exactly is the coverage gap? Well, people whose incomes are above 138% of the poverty line are eligible for subsidized insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges. People at 100% of the poverty line and below are mostly already covered by the existing Medicaid program, as are working poor single mothers and their children, and destitute but disabled individuals. The “coverage gap” is largely for able-bodied individuals whose incomes fall between 100% and 138% of the poverty line.
Remember how the Obamacare Supreme Court ruling stated that Obama could not force states to expand Medicaid? That gave states the opportunity to thwart the major aims of Obamacare by not filling in that coverage gap with a permanent government entitlement. This is why Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for Medicaid Expansion, because otherwise the great national experiment in socialized medicine fails.
Tag’s response should be the model for all Republicans in the General Assembly: we want quality care for the poor and disabled. We will not expand a program like Medicaid that will hurt those who need it most. We refuse to let VA turn into the VA!