Cover Image from Fox News
In a run up to an election, it should be expected that candidates release ideas on how they would fix this or that. In the beginning Donald Trump was a little light in this area, but as the months have gone on, he’s starting to release more and more, and in the area of how to help veterans in need of medical care, Mr. Trump echoes this writer’s thoughts exactly.
Under Trump’s plan, vets of all ages who are eligible for VA care could get treated at any civilian doctor’s office or hospital that takes Medicare. No bureaucratic hoops, pre-approvals or wait lists.
Which is what a lot of us have been saying for some time. Why maintain a duplicate hospital system when private and university physicians are faster, cheaper and don’t require overhead, especially for veterans who do not have time to lose.
Well, Trump’s plan doesn’t eliminate the duplicate system we know as the VA, but it does cut through the red tape of using the private sector for those vets also on medicare. At this time, veterans must live outside a 40-mile radius of a VA hospital or have waited more than 30 days for an appointment to get an exemption, and that is after the doctor gets qualified and then it is only for 60 days. According to the New York Post piece quoted above, not many vets know about this provision…and that is probably the way the VA wants it.
And then there is the matter of maybe, just maybe saving the taxpayers some cash and treating the people who have assured our freedoms with the best medical care available from high volume providers prepared to deal with adversities all at the same time:
Competitors criticize Trump for not estimating the cost. But the facts suggest his plan will be low-cost, because nearly half of VA users are already on Medicare. Astoundingly, over 1 million of them have Medicare Advantage, which means taxpayers are paying insurance companies to care for them and then paying Veterans Affairs to care for them. This nonsensical double payment sends 10 percent of the VA health budget down the drain every year.
Overall, encouraging older vets to use Medicare instead by picking up their out-of-pocket costs when they go to a civilian doctor is a no-brainer, and it would cut VA wait lists in half. That would allow younger vets to see a VA doctor faster.
This is not rocket science. Any number of people have been saying this sort of thing for quite a while. With the recent scandals in the agency of people dying on wait lists and being declared dead when they are very much alive, the VA and the treatment of America’s veterans is going to be an election issue. At least Mr. Trump understands that and has the framework of a plan to be fleshed out. Let’s see what the others come up with.