I just watched a 60 Minutes segment on the Veterans Administration medical care disaster, featuring the new VA Secretary, Bob McDonald. He is obviously eminently qualified and appears almost right out of “central casting” for this job–West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, etc. He is clearly a good man with good instincts. But the VA medical care delivery model is flawed beyond redemption. The government is simply not competent to manage a massive health care delivery system that currently serves nine million patients (McDonald calls them customers, which is a good start). First, there should be summary dismissal bypassing civil service process of the over one thousand reported senior managers who have been identified as culpable in the massive fraud in this case, many of whom deserve criminal referral. Next, the entire VA medical care system should be voucherized, so that the veterans and their families can carry their well-deserved benefits with them to whatever provider best meets their needs. If the delivery model with its perverse incentive system isn’t changed, any reform will be temporary. Think Obamacare in 20 years.
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