Roger L. Simon

The Veterans Scandal: Socialized Medicine on Trial

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Many have wondered about Barack Obama’s prolonged silence concerning the disastrous situation at the Veterans Administration hospitals and then his odd detached demeanor (well, maybe not that odd for him) when he finally did discuss it at a press conference.

The answer is simple.  His lifetime dream of a free public (single payer) healthcare system for all just disintegrated in front of him. Forget the wildly ambitious and pervasive “Affordable Care Act,” the government couldn’t even handle the health of our wounded servicemen, acknowledged for years to be by far the group most deserving of medical attention in our country.  With veterans dying while waiting lists are falsified, it’s hard to see government healthcare as anything but incompetent, disgraceful and quite possibly criminal.

Government has failed utterly.  Does anyone have any doubt that Halliburton or even the dreaded Koch brothers could have better handled the health of our wounded warriors? Probably almost any business would have.  There at least would have been some accountability. (It’s interesting to see the quaint Bernie Sanders, the one self-described socialist in the Congress, as opposed to the closeted ones, being the most outspoken defender of VA malfeasance and urging us not to “rush to judgement” on a three page bill.)

But it’s not just healthcare, although it’s certainly prominent, important and symbolic.  The Obama administration has been the best advertisement for libertarianism across the board in recent memory.  Government can’t handle anything, not even the one thing it should handle, the common defense. (It better get it together on that one with Russia and China making a new alliance that might be stronger and more powerful than ever.)

So this VA scandal may call to question a lot of things about our society,  if we pay attention and then reach out to others. It should be remembered that many of the veterans who have been mistreated, possibly  killed, are members of minorities that traditionally, indeed reflexively, vote Democratic.  The Democratic Party’s exploitation of black people has been one of the great, virtually unconscionable, tragedies of our time.  This may be an opportunity to reach out, a teaching moment, as they say.

People do change (occasionally). When I was kid, I used to fight with my doctor father (a Hubert Humphrey Democrat) about socialized medicine.  He had spent time in England and told me that it didn’t work even then. A young idealist, I didn’t believe him.  I came around.  Others will. We are in an interesting moment with so much of the liberal-left ethic disintegrating around them.  The next couple of years will be historical — one way or the other.

I would be remiss not to point out that both Rand Paul and Andrea Tantaros said substantially the same thing I did — making the analogy between socialized medicine and the VA debacle — on Fox Thursday night.