Letters to the Editor

Privatizing VA would be disaster

The Jan. 17 CDT ran pro/con op-eds on private care choice for veterans served by the VA health care system. I believe wholesale privatization of the VA would spell disaster for vets and the American medical system broadly. As someone who has been using VA benefits for almost 20 years, I was surprised by Whitt Flora’s opinion, which I had mostly nodded to throughout, that “the VA system already represents government bureaucracy and inefficiency at its worst.” In my experiences, I couldn’t disagree more. Although I’ve had a couple of negative experiences, I think the VA is on the vanguard for the kind of care to which all Americans should be receiving: Single Payer National Health Insurance (like Costa Rica, Feb. 3 CDT).

I remember the bad old days in 1973, returning to civilian life after a tour in Southeast Asia. Like other homecoming vets, I wanted nothing to do with a seriously defective VA that didn’t even recognize post-traumatic stress disorder. Vietnam veterans were critical and the new, reformed VA has been overwhelmingly positive for us. It has led the nation on electronic record-keeping and in various medical research areas, and has keenly focused on the specialized needs of military patients.

Don’t buy the libertarian propaganda from a Koch Brothers-backed group that wants a privatized VA, Concerned Veterans for America. More than 30 veterans groups are unanimous in opposition, and 87 percent of vets believe the federal government should provide for their medical needs.

Douglas M. Mason, Port Matilda