We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
WHEN will The People finally realize that the Veterans Administration is National Health -- what you get when the government runs a healthcare system? Its shabby service and uninterested administration are followed every decade or so by a scandal and the resignation of an administrator or two. Doctors in private practice must build their reputations for quality service, and then their incomes will follow. Doctors in national health are secure in their income, and indifferent to their reputations. When will we ever learn such a simple lesson?
When they have to wait 3 months to see a GP for the flu.
USMC, 85-89 and a couple go-rounds with the Reserves.
William O. B'Livion
I disagree. My health care is through the VA and has been for the past ten years. I have not experienced any of the problems others have. As a Vietnam Vet with service related disabilities directly related to my service, I get reasonable care at no cost. On two occasions when I had blood pressure problems, I was treated quickly, efficiently and spent a week in the Dorn VA Hospital here in Columbia, SC on the last visit with every single medical test known to man until they figured out what the problem was. I was treated with respect and the doctors actually listened instead of assuming. My 'scripts are free and pretty much what I had when I was under the care of a civilian doctor - the one exception is a Ramipril substitute which is basically the same drug.
So my experience is different. Then again, I don't place demands on the system either. So maybe that is a factor.
My brother-in-law was a retired E-6 (before they had E7 and E8). He preferred the VA in Tampa and Tucson over what military retirement had to offer, even after Tri-care came in. That was several years ago; he passed four or five years ago. I live about a mile from a major VA hospital, but have never used it. I'm doing fine with Tri-care.
Major Ian Hay, back in the “War to End War,” described the structure of military organizations: Regardless of T.O., all military bureaucracies consist of a Surprise Party Department, a Practical Joke Department, and a Fairy Godmother Department. The first two process most matters as the third is very small; the Fairy Godmother Department is one elderly female GS-5 clerk usually out on sick leave, per Heinlein.
So you got help from the Fairy Godmother Department.
In a way we're looking at several different issues here. One is the bureaucratic matrix, a problem which exists across all large entities, government or private.
Second is that part of the issue here may have a geographical component, i.e., most of the problems are in states where large numbers of military have retired.
Third has been the expanded mandate given to the VA of treating anyone who is former military. Regardless of time in service, illness service related or not.
Once in and under treatment, as Tom Francis attests above, treatment is very good. The system has simply been overwhelmed.
Not to excuse the bureaucratic assholes who run the place from responsibility. If they had been honest and pressed their way up the line of BS to the top, changes may have been made. Alas, bureaucrats have never been known for having spines.
I do have a conflict of interest. My sister-in-law works for the VA as an Occupational Therapist... believe you me, there is no one better whom you would choose to have working for you. Her stories of the vets, and what she does for them astound at times.
I should add, though this may sound self aggrandizing, and perhaps it is, though I don't mean it to be.
I'm also a Vietnam vet, also definitely exposed to agent orange, those 123's overhead weren't spraying out Gatorade after all.
My sister-in-law is always on my ass about going to the VA for the various conditions I'm running into by getting old. Hearing loss, kidney cancer, PTSD. I refuse.
I refuse, mainly, because I volunteered for all my service. Never once have I considered that this country owes me anything for doing so. I offered my life. Such little insults as ill health mean naught compared to that.
Way to miss the point, jerk. Well, you didn't miss the point I'm sure, you just felt it necessary to shit on another man's thoughts. Hyperbolic for sure on my part, but still evincing a better attitude then your smart ass crap.
Am I supposed to play the "I'm a veteran card" now?
and, yes, you are just crazy, technically, a complete narcissist if you question whether veterans are entitled to health care at taxpayer expense as you loudly nail yourself to a cross and proclaim you're above it because you're what? suffering silently and patriotically while mere mortals see a doctor? in what alternate universe does that begin to make sense?
You can play whatever card you care to, so long as they're from the top of the deck.
I have read over my comments and am failing to see where it was that I "...question whether veterans are entitled to health care at taxpayer expense...". Nothing even remotely close.
I don't go without healthcare. I described how I handle the situation, using my judgment, morals such as they are, and my belief in taking care of 'my' issues as I see fit.
Perhaps I've just been witness to too many who look for any angle they can to abuse the system, agent orange for example. Just like the number of folks who claim to have been in combat, the number of folks claiming to have been exposed to agent orange is much greater than the number of those who actually were.
I've no complaints about care I've received from the VA in NorCal. Outpatient Clinic in Chico takes care of most stuff, and what they can't handle they refer to Mather in Sacramento. The wait time has never been too long, and when I called and complained of some kidney pain they told me that if needed to I should go to a local (within 25 miles) ER, but when I told 'em I'd be okay overnight they saw me the next day.
Haven't had much treatment for service-connected problems but they take care of my minor medical needs. They bill the insurance that I carry through work and any meds come with a low co-pay.
Yeah, there's a pretty large contingent of vets in the area (think Beale AFB) but I doubt that affects the care here. I'll continue t use VA for whatever they can handle 'cause I've had nothing but good care and great caregivers for the last dozen or so years I've used them.
Now, if you wanna talk about SF VA Hospital 40 years ago and more, that's another discussion.