John Merline in Investors’ Business Daily reports on the democrats’ latest attempt to re-write history and distort reality, hoping that their low-information supporters will continue to walk around in a fog of ignorance about what’s really going on and how our country is being destroyed.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., argued that the main cause of the delays is money: “If the VA does not have enough doctors to see these patients, then these problems are a result of a lack of funding.”
NBC News chief Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski argued the same point on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”
“You have a VA that is overwhelmed and under-resourced,” he said. “There’s just not enough money right now in the federal government to fix it.”
Newspaper editorials, too, are picking up this theme. As one put it: “Officials at all levels of government have known for years that the VA lacks the resources to adequately serve the growing number of veterans who come under the agency’s care.”
It sounds good. And it would seem to make sense.
But it’s far from true. …
The VA’s budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines. From 2000 to 2013, outlays nearly tripled, while the population of veterans declined by 4.3 million.
Medical care spending — which consumes about 40% of the VA’s budget — has climbed 193% over those years, while the number of patients served by the VA each year went up just 68%, according to data from the VA.
From 2008 to 2012 alone, per-patient spending at the VA climbed 27%. To put that in perspective, per capita health spending nationwide rose just 13% during those years.
And per-enrollee spending for Medicare went up only 10%, government data show.
Some will argue that the increase in health spending was the direct result of all those wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
But these vets aren’t driving VA costs higher.
A Congressional Budget Office report found that they cost $4,800, on average, in 2010 compared with $8,800 for other veterans who used the system.
It also found that while these Iraq and Afghan vets account for 7% of those treated, they were responsible for only 4% of its health costs.
A separate CBO report found that while “veterans from recent conflicts will represent a fast-growing share of enrollments in VA health care … the share of VA’s resources devoted to the care of those veterans is projected to remain small through 2020.”
What’s more, the main reason for the growth in enrollment in the VA’s health service wasn’t those two wars; it was the Veterans’ Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton, “which required the VA to provide care to certain types of veterans, such as those with service-connected disabilities, and permitted VA to offer services to additional veterans if funding permitted,” the CBO report noted.
In addition, in 1999 the VA let even those with relatively high incomes enroll, the CBO said.
The problem isn’t that enough money wasn’t thrown at the VA. The problem was management malfeasance, motivated by greed, one of the uglier, but ever-present aspects of human nature. Apparently, as it turns out, socialism doesn’t change human nature, even if a transformative man-god messiah like the One is in charge.
Why do I call the VA “socialism?” Don’t take my word for it. Just ask former Enron consultant turned leftist hero economist Paul Krugman, or this other guy cited in Ben Shapiro’s excellent piece, Left’s VA-Worship Comes Back to Bite:
Jonathan Golob of The Seattle Stranger has written in the same vein: “Every time I read about a Teabagger ranting about how socialized medicine will destroy this country I think of the VA system. There it is, a huge and vastly important universal healthcare system—government run, single payer and therefore socialist—right here in the brave and privatized United States: The Veterans Affairs hospitals.”
Ben also mentions WaPo’s silly twit Ezra Klein, who like Barack Obama thinks the Constitution is outmoded, archaic and worthless, and who said he would like to open the VA to non-veterans.
Isn’t that Obamacare is trying to do, Ezra?