Monday, January 7, 2019

Privatizing VA health services a bad idea

Military veterans beware. I am writing to let you know there is serious discussion by the current administration in Washington, D.C., to privatize the Veterans Administration’s health services and place the welfare of America’s veterans in the hands of corporate magnates like the Koch brothers and other profit-driven entrepreneurs.
This is an urgent matter for all Alaska veterans and nonveterans alike. Whether you use the VA or not, it is there for most veterans if ever needed.
New rules are being drafted that will govern how veterans can access taxpayer-funded medical care in their community under the new Mission Act. These rules are set to take effect in June of this year. This legislation was passed to get veterans more access to care, which is great, but the Mission Act provides cover for moving veterans care outside of the VA and into the private sector, where profit — and not the welfare of patients — is the great motivator.
Line for service at privatized VA
What is at stake is the future care for millions of Americans who have served our nation. For some veterans, that service brought with it emotional and or physical scars they will carry with them the rest of their lives. For some of these veterans, the scars are obvious: lost limbs or severe physical disabilities. Others suffer from toxic wounds after they were poisoned with Agent Orange or pesticides. Younger vets have suffered from severe brain injuries in recent wars. And of course, there are emotional scars and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our veterans need the best care available, and that is from the Veterans Administration health care services. Veterans know the best place for them to get care is the VA. The VA is the only place that offers treatment that is specifically designed for veterans, where doctors, nurses and other caregivers are trained to look for service-related illnesses such a toxic wounds and PTSD.

Study after study shows that care in the VA is equal to or superior to care in the private sector.
 (Read the following article for more information:
In addition, it costs less to treat a veteran in the VA than it does in the private sector in part because there is no effort to make a profit. There is no profit incentive when one works for the federal government on a salary.
Right now, the unions, including National Nurses United and American Federation of Government Employees, are fighting the privatization effort. The current administration is trying to silence that opposition and has come after the unions by stalling contract negotiations, issuing executive orders designed to gut the unions and washing away worker’s protections that have been in place for decades.

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