Hart: VA flap signals future of ACA

Hart: VA flap signals future of ACA

June 6th, 2014 by By Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

"Wow, there's fraud, inefficiency and dishonesty at the VA hospitals?" said no one - except Democrats in D.C.

Not only did Obama feign surprise, other Democrats said they were "shocked" by the matter. It is yet to be determined if Nancy Pelosi was shocked by the allegations since her face always looks shocked.

Once again, Obama said he only heard about this scandal through the media. Perhaps he was too busy not knowing about the IRS scandal, Benghazi, NSA spying, wiretapping of media opponents, the GSA, the Obamacare website debacle and Secret Service hooker scandals. There seem to be no limits to what Obama does not know.

There are two very simple reasons the VA is a dysfunctional bureaucratic mess. One, it is government-run. Two, it is now 80 percent public-sector unionized. These are people who come to work each day only concerned about one thing: what they are going to have for lunch. There is no profit motive, no risk of getting fired and little accountability. The slower they work, the more money they get. Veterans die, but they keep their jobs.

At least 188 VA employees (85 nurses), some making six-figure salaries, spend 100 percent of their time working on union matters. This "official time" is only what they report, and what we pay for. They use it politicking for Democrats. Unions should pay them, not taxpayers.

The VA is run for union workers, not patients. They don't even remind vets of their appointments, thus no-show rates are as high as 45 percent. This means less work for union members.

The union mentality and ambivalence of a big government bureaucracy explains the awful care our veterans have received. More importantly, it's a precursor to the care we all will be getting under Obamacare in 10 years.

Half of veterans are over age 65 and get Medicare. Why not give the rest of the vets vouchers for care from local hospitals and private physicians? Why own 971 VA hospitals and clinics and incur overhead costs all over the country? For both price and quality, private medical competition serves consumers better than any government ever has. Sell the hospitals and let our vets get good care near where they live.

The bigger picture is why we have so many vets needing help anyway. Fewer wars of choice would be a nice start to a solution. We were about out of the woods with the Vietnam-era vets aging, and then we went and invaded two countries we didn't need to.

Obama's feckless and naïve foreign policy might pay off in one regard. He seems only to want to scramble U.S. jets when he hears what might have been a racial slur by a Republican.

His answer to the 300 African Christian girls taken captive, to be sold into sex slavery for $12 apiece, is to Tweet about it. As you might imagine, a back-country Muslim extremist group like Boko Haram really fears snarky social media comments. So that's worked well.

Obama even goes around Congress and exchanges five high-ranking Taliban commanders for one of our guys. Obama can't do anything without running a 5 to 1 deficit, or that might just be the new Common Core math he was using. Perhaps to get the great medical care they deserve, our VA heroes can turn themselves in as Afghan Taliban fighters and get top-notch medical care - and a $500,000 soccer field - at Guantanamo Bay.

This VA scandal is so bad that Obama has instructed his media to divert their headlines to the failings of Obamacare. Do you think the media will draw the obvious parallels? I'll give you five to one they don't.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com.