Saturday, January 12, 2019

Last Call For Privatizing Privates

Meanwhile, the Trump regime is ready to capitalize on their plan to make healthcare for veterans so terrible that they can get away with privatizing VA healthcare, thus ensuring that the cost of nearly two decades of war injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan becomes borne by veterans and their families.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans’ hospitals to private health care providers, setting the stage for the biggest transformation of the veterans’ medical system in a generation.

Under proposed guidelines, it would be easier for veterans to receive care in privately run hospitals and have the government pay for it. Veterans would also be allowed access to a system of proposed walk-in clinics, which would serve as a bridge between V.A. emergency rooms and private providers, and would require co-pays for treatment.

Veterans’ hospitals, which treat seven million patients annually, have struggled to see patients on time in recent years, hit by a double crush of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and aging Vietnam veterans. A scandal over hidden waiting lists in 2014 sent Congress searching for fixes, and in the years since, Republicans have pushed to send veterans to the private sector, while Democrats have favored increasing the number of doctors in the V.A.

If put into effect, the proposed rules — many of whose details remain unclear as they are negotiated within the Trump administration — would be a win for the once-obscure Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded by the network founded by the billionaire industrialists Charles G. and David H. Koch, which has long championed increasing the use of private sector health care for veterans.

For individual veterans, private care could mean shorter waits, more choices and fewer requirements for co-pays — and could prove popular. But some health care experts and veterans’ groups say the change, which has no separate source of funding, would redirect money that the current veterans’ health care system — the largest in the nation — uses to provide specialty care.

Critics have also warned that switching vast numbers of veterans to private hospitals would strain care in the private sector and that costs for taxpayers could skyrocket. In addition, they say it could threaten the future of traditional veterans’ hospitals, some of which are already under review for consolidation or closing.

Considering the catastrophic damage Trump has already done to the nation's hospital system, gutting the nation's VA hospitals would only make things worse.  The big winners here are the massive private hospital chains and insurance giants, who will get the money, while America's hospitals get more crowded with fewer medical care professionals.

If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars, American hospital care is second to none.  If you don't, and the Trump regime is assuring that tens of millions of us have no affordable access, well, hope you have a wide network of friends for your crowdfunding efforts, otherwise it's into the poorhouse you go...or worse, into the graveyard.

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