Congressman Phil Roe’s name was booed in front of the White House while President Trump recognized those who have worked with the VA and helped with the new VA Mission Act of 2018. Roe is the current chairman of the Committee of Veteran Affairs and has done little in his position to make life better for veterans. According to GovTrack, Roe has only sponsored and passed seven bills related to healthcare or veterans care since 2013. Most of these bills were passed last year since there has been more pressure to reform the VA.
Though Roe has done little with legislation, his recent bills have been decent, including his newest one, the “VA Mission Act of 2018” and the “VA Accountability First Act of 2017.” The new VA Mission Act basically establishes a permanent community care program for veterans, creates a commission for the purpose of making recommendations regarding the modernization or realignment of facilities of the Veterans Health Administration, improves construction of the Department of Veterans Affairs, makes certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs relating to the home loan program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
The VA Accountability Act instituted new reforms such as providing the Secretary with authority to expeditiously remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, for performance or misconduct and provided improved protections for whistleblowers; allow the Secretary to reduce an employee’s federal pension if he or she is convicted of a felony that influenced his or her job at VA; recoup a bonus provided to an employee who engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to receiving the bonus; and allow the Secretary to recoup any relocation expenses that were authorized for a VA employee only through the employee’s ill-gotten gains, such as fraud waste, or malfeasance.
These reforms are steps in the right direction, and it is good that members of congress are starting to do more for veterans. However, it should come to no shock that the VA got as bad and corrupt as it did. The VA is a government-run health agency, which means that it is essentially socialized medicine. Being what it is, the VA has the same problems that countries such as Canada and Great Britain have.
These problems include long wait lines, healthcare rationing, and an inability to help everyone that needs treatment. This was always going to be the problem with socialized medicine because the government is woefully inefficient in areas such as healthcare.
The VA should be a lesson for socialized medicine in the US. Single payer healthcare would create the same problems that the VA has. This is because health care has three aspects to it; affordability, quality, and universality. A healthcare system can only have two of the aspects, never all three. The VA and socialized medicine tries to give affordability and universality to its recipients, and therefore, lacks seriously in quality. This means that even though everyone is part of the healthcare system, it has no way to accommodate everyone with equal services.
Since government refuses to see this truth, our veterans have suffered and died while waiting for treatment that would never come. This is the fate of all government-run healthcare and, it’s unforgivable that we made our veterans go through it. Good on President Trump and Congressman Roe for finally trying to do something about it. Although, the problem will never truly be fixed until the government stops sticking its corrupt hands where it doesn’t belong.