Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Rick Moran


May 24, 2014 - 12:08 am

Excellent piece in Reason’s Hit and Run blog by J.D. Tuccille that makes the case it’s not just the Veterans Administration that is at fault for the scandal. The problem is government-run health care systems in general, as the UK, Canada, and other places have already discovered.

Such delays are typical of government-controlled, single-payer systems, I wrote yesterday. They’re such a regular feature that the U.K. National Health Service boasts “you have the legal right to start your NHS consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral.”

And the deaths that go with such delays may also be a regular feature of single-payer systems.

“Canada’s growing wait times for health care may have contributed to the deaths of 44,273 Canadian women between 1993 and 2009,” that country’s Fraser Institute announced just yesterday.

The estimated 44,273 deaths between 1993 and 2009 represent 2.5 per cent of all female deaths in Canada during that 16-year period, or 1.2 per cent of Canada’s total mortality (male and female).

More specifically, during that same 16-year period, for every one-week increase in the post-referral wait time for medically necessary elective procedures, three female Canadians died (per 100,000 women).

The study reaching those conclusions found no such dramatic relationship between extended waits for care and male mortality, which is reassuring to those of us with a Y chromosome. For double-XXs, not so much.

Fraser reports that wait times for Canada’s single-payer system have grown across 12 major medical specialties from 9.3 weeks in 1993 to 18.2 weeks in 2013. The extended delays grew so bad in Quebec that Canada’s Supreme Court ruled laws banning private medical insurance unconstitutional in 2005.

Wait times for patients in a government-run system appear to be a feature, not a bug.

Inefficiencies are endemic in large bureaucracies because there is zero incentive to perform at a high level. No one works hard because slackers get paid just the same as good workers. There was no incentive at the VA to figure out a way to cut wait times. In fact, it was easier to attempt to cover up the problem than fix it.

For all the enthusiasm shown by the left for a single-payer system, there doesn’t seem to be much thought given to the consequences.  In fact, those eager to expand the power and reach of Washington rarely, if ever, carefully weigh what would be gained against what would be lost or destroyed. It’s why every major initiative by this president has been a disaster — a lack of prudence and judgement that has led to far too many unintended consequences.

Of course, in the case of the VA vs. sick vets, the consequences were known: death and serious illness. But because there is little or no accountability, there was every incentive to hide the bad news.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
And Obama brags about cutting payments to hospitals and doctors to cut costs for the government.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
In health care there are three variables

Cost of treatment, quality of care, speed of treatment (and being seen)

In the private sector world you can have 2, choose wisely. In government controlled systems you get to choose none. Pick your system wisely.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
While I was in the military I had to deal with their "free" healthcare.

The joke went "Military healthcare is free, and worth every penny/"

The VA is just more of the same.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can NEVER reform the VA. Reagan tried but the special interests stopped him. You can't make socialism work. Instead, we should give veterans generous vouchers and discounts on health care insurance so they can decide what hospitals, doctors, and medicine they need. It's the only solution. As long as the VA continues to exists, these kind of problems will continue no matter what party is in office. And the VA scandal is what awaits us until we rid ourselves of Obamacare and start replacing Medicare and Medicaid into free-market oriented entities.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Isn't that what every bureaucracy does? Hide its ineptitude, incompetence and mistakes.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The solution to the VA problem is simple and therefore anathema to the self-appointed elites in Washington D. C. (Dumb Corruption). The answer is this:

Abolish the VA completely. From the money you save, use a tiny fraction of it to give veterans the exact same health insurance members of Congress enjoy. It's a gold-plated bonanza most of us could never dream of having, but if it's good enough for Congressmen and Senators it should be good enough for men and women who risked their lives protecting our country.

Finally, if anyone in Congress opposes this idea they can be painted as selfish hypocrites. Sweet!

If you want to know more, I've posted a 3-minute video about it on my personal web site. You can see it at
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael: I'd be inclined to go along with you, except for one minor glitch. Those veterans who decide to draw Social Security payments are required to be enrolled in Medicare. That is _not_ optional; I tried to opt out of Medicare, but got nowhere. If you take SS, you get Medicare, like it or not. (And yes, I'm a veteran, so I think I'm qualified for VA care.)

The ultimate answer, of course, is to get the Feddle Gummnt out of the health insurance / provider business entirely. That will happen slightly after pigs sing and slightly before horses talk. (I'd say jackasses, but they're babblin' away in Congress, even as we speak.)

Ben Hartley
(I writeit, I sign it)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
- "No one works hard because slackers get paid just the same as good workers"

And then there are these problems:

- Management personnel are political appointees - usually based on fund raising or vote delivering services to the party in control - and typically have little or no subject matter experience.
- Appointees and their key hires quickly realize that devotion to the ideology of those who put them in the job is their most important concern.
- Pleasing the customer does not enter into anyone's thought process since that does not relate in any way to jobs and paychecks.
- Once public service unions are put in place, wages rise and productivity standards get lowered until "slacker" becomes the norm.
- No matter how hard they bluster about increasing availability of something and bending the cost curve down, government controlled services will always end up doing the opposite in both.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment

I don't believe that I'm credentialed enough to muck this situation up any further, so I'm sticking with my initial idea of outsourcing the VA's healthcare operations to Kaiser Permanente. I had their insurance for many of my work years in California's printing industry and they always did well by me, including a shoulder surgery operation. They also seem to have a strong inclination towards studying their operations in a scientific manner in order to improve them.

Oh yeah, one last thing. I didn't really mean "muck".
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
In health care there are three optons, quality of care, price, speed of treatment. The caveat is that in the private sector you only get to select 2.
In the government sector you get to select NONE.

So just remember it was only a short time ago, that libs were in ecstasy about the VA being a single payer system and so wonderful,

but when you get paper pushers that get bonuses for not treating people, what do you expcet, and when you get people that have no accountability, what is this with on unpaid leave for failures--you promote the culture that this is acceptible.

Funny, but in all the costs for these plans, it seems that those that provide the services are at the bottom of the concerns.

Anyone think you are going to get the smartest and brightest to go into health care, where the demands on their time and the compensation is less than some paper pusher.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
And Obama brags about cutting payments to hospitals and doctors to cut costs for the government.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All

One Trackback to “It’s Not the VA: It’s Government-Run Health Care”