Guarantee Veterans Highest International Health Care Standards

Veterans For Peace – Chapter 9, The Smedley D. Butler Brigade, Boston, MA express our concerns and our present opposition to the recently passed SB 2372 bill, the VA Mission Act of 2018.

Our concerns then, and now, are with the vague language of the bill and opportunities presented by that language to possibly encumber the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in carrying out its mission.  We value and appreciate the specialized, integrated, and caring, veteran-centric service that our veterans receive from the VHA.  We fear the negative results of outsourcing care to a private sector, fragmented healthcare system, without the appropriate cost controls and quality of care oversight. We seek improvement in care.  The’s funding, we feel, could cause deterioration of care.

According to Rand Corporation and other studies, VHA health outcomes rank highly when comparing healthcare systems worldwide. As outlined in the Mission Act, a move to “Community Care” could place patients in a fragmented, less effective, private sector, for profit healthcare system.  The United States’ private healthcare system does NOT rank highly in health outcomes among top-tier international healthcare systems. World Health Organization (WHO) studies, over the last two decades, have consistently ranked the U.S. health care system as among the lowest performing of major countries in the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In upcoming discussions, we urge our Senate to demand standards of care comparable to the highest international standards.  We envision a VA Healthcare System as single payer, fully funded, and staffed to the highest international standards for the 21st century; comprehensive in care, with specialized attention to the extraordinary needs of combat veterans and others with service connected health care issues; a system collaborating with not-for-profit community health care centers nationwide or VA satellite clinics to provide veteran-specific services to those who cannot travel to major VA healthcare facilities.

We demand that the VA system be appropriately staffed and fully funded; that quality of care be guaranteed at the highest international standards, whether VHA implemented or in cooperation with private sector care, so that veterans care is not diminished and does not become a boondoggle benefitting large healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, at the expense of our veterans and the American taxpayer.

The VHA, alone, can negotiate pharmaceutical price; we do NOT want to lose or lessen this ability. We reject the privatization and profitization of care for Americans who have laid their lives on the line for this great country. We do NOT want for-profit hospital systems to undermine the VHA workforce or the comprehensive care that the VHA now provides.

Our veterans deserve the best!!

Submitted by Douglas Stuart, U.S, Army 1968-70; Dr Robert E. Morris, M.P.H., U.S, Navy Vietnam,1969-70; Mr. Dan Luker, U.S, Army Vietnam,1969-70; Mr. Buzz Davis, U.S, Army South Korea,1967-70 VFP Chapter 13, Tucson for Stop VA Privatization, Fix, Fund & Fully Staff the VA Work Group

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Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comment on current events and the pressing issues of the day. Occasionally, the Board weighs-in on issues of concern for the residents of Arizona and the US.