Letter: Critics' goal is privatization of VA medical system
As a World War II veteran, I agree with Edgar Allen Beem that we don't adequately support the troops. However, I disagree with his analysis. Veterans Administration medical programs have served me well, at Togus and elsewhere. Delays in the VA's system are no worse than in the private sector.
The so-called scandal is politically motivated and engineered (consider the state where it was first "discovered" – Arizona – and its politics.) I believe that this is the start of an effort to privatize the VA's medical arm.
The VA is simply underfunded. Politicians who decry supposed VA delays are the same ones that refuse to provide adequate funding. Recognition of PTSD, TBI, Agent Orange exposure and Hepatitis C as service-connected maladies, plus a sick economy, have brought on a fast-growing demand that cannot be served promptly by an underfunded and thus undermanned organization.
President Obama's overly hasty response to the resultant onslaught – suggesting that the VA, under certain circumstances, reimburse private physicians and institutions for treating vets – is falling into a trap. This would only exacerbate the ever-expanding crusade of the "radical retrogressives" to eliminate successful governmental programs that benefit the middle and working classes: First, starve the program. Tarnish its reputation. Demean its employees. Destroy its leadership. Then eliminate the tattered program completely and offer, instead, inadequate vouchers for our ever more expensive private system.
Beem also mentions "government flunkies." Isn't this rightist propaganda? Every large organization, public and private, has its share of employees who don't pull their own weight.
James M. Friedlander