To The Editor:
With regard to proposals for the privatization of Veterans Healthcare, I say no. Privatization of the VHA may seem to most a positive policy recommendation, but I am not convinced. According to the article, Value for Taxpayers Dollars: What VA Care Would Cost at Medicare Prices, “an independent assessment of the VHA record of care delivery conducted by the RAND corporation and mandated by the 2014 Choice Act, documented that VHA outperforms the private sector on a number of measures, is equivalent to some, and marginally worse on just a few[ services].” In fact, the independent assessment also found that VHA wait times do not appear to be significantly worse than non-VHA wait times. Furthermore, in using the best analysis to analyze the amount of health insurance that VHA could buy in the private sector, the Congressional Budget Office reported that VHA is saving more money in its current form. The VA healthcare system can achieve such savings because the government negotiates lower prices with the pharmaceutical industry, physicians, and other health care providers. This therefore helps the VA healthcare system to save taxpayers’ money by minimizing expenses that would be higher if achieved by public-private-partnerships such as a government insurance program similar to Medicare or Tricare. Consequently, the privatization argument put forward by the critics of the Veterans Health Administration does not merit the private involvement that they seek. While our veterans deserve the best health care money can buy, these funds should be used to improve the VA healthcare system. Note, it is our government’s responsibility to serve those who have served us, not to shift responsibility to the private sector.