Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Creating a False Crisis in Order to Privatize the VA Health Care System

I went to the Veterans Administration (VA) health clinic at Togus, Maine earlier this week to meet with a doctor in preparation for an upcoming test.  I've been in the VA health care system for a couple years now and must say the treatment I have received has been excellent.

I've noted recently an avalanche of bad coverage for the VA in the mainstream media and have come to the conclusion that it is an orchestrated campaign in order to create the momentum to privatize the VA.

The corporate health insurance companies would love to get their hands on the money that is spent on the VA health care system each year.  The movement to privatize the VA is also linked to the corporate health insurance companies wanting to kill any program that smacks of government sponsored health care - what we call a single payer system or Medicare for all.  The privateers want to destroy all their competition.

The 2016 budget includes roughly $70 billion in discretionary funding for the VA, for a total budget of about $168 billion — the rest being made up of mandatory benefit programs such as pensions and disability payments for veterans.  That is a huge amount of money - even if only the $70 billion part of the VA budget got privatized you can see the impact that money would have in the hands of the already well endowed private insurance profiteers.

With all the U.S. wars during the past 30 years I'm sure the costs for veterans care is growing dramatically - the corporate insurance companies want those bucks.

In my view the VA health care system is a good model for the entire nation.  I've had nothing but positive and caring service at the Togus clinic here in Maine.  The private companies don't want to see a successful government run health care model thus they have been running their mainstream corporate media campaign to destroy the credibility of the VA system.

Every time I go to the VA clinic at Togus I say to myself - this is the kind of care and treatment that every citizen should get - at no direct cost.  If only a portion of the money we currently spend in the 'for profit' health care world could be put into a Medicare for all system we'd have much better care at a much lower cost.

Don't fall for the demonize and privatize the VA scam that is being run these days.  Keep the VA and expand the system into a real national health care program for everyone.


Blogger Dan Ellis said...

I've been covered by the VA medical system well over 25 years. In those years, I have had my experiences with "good" and "not-so-good" medical practitioners. Over the past decade however, the care I have received has been excellent. My experience at Togus, like yours, has been all that I need.

6/24/16, 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

Same. The VA is coming through for me when all the privateers would have had me killed by neglect. There would be no way in hell for me to get private insurance. Oh, maybe for anything Not Pre-existing. But since most of my problems are exactly that, eh. And I just recently found that I do have benefits. I could have used that information 30 years ago. My wife was dying from MS and complications thereof. The pre-existing deal of course.

I can't possibly know what might have been, with adequate health care. Some captain who was not much older than me (I was 19) had told me that all the benefits i would ever have was a free grave. I guess i was dumb enough to enlist and dumb enough to believe that too.

On a positive note, now there are options that we didn't have before. Some but not all of the legislative/executive folks in Washington have had their heads pulled out and they now recognize that the aftermath of war, care for the people who had to serve, is really expensive but if we ignore it, it will be one helluva lot more expensive.

Every now and then some of them do get a flash of what needs done. When I was a kid I got a life membership in the VFW and American Legion on my grandfather and father's service.

and they DID at the time preach heavily about the reason both organizations got started. They made sure we understood. The Spanish War and WW one vets got royally screwed. It took a task force led by Ike and Big Mac firing on a veterans camp-in to wake people up. Sometimes i think they went back to sleepy-time way too quickly.Let us hope but more importantly Work Diligently to keep that from happening again.

6/24/16, 7:44 PM  

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