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As Long as We Remember...

June 12, 2014

Get Government Out of The Way

Blaine R. Young

We have all been reading, watching and hearing a lot about the current mess at our Veterans Administration hospitals. Without question it is unacceptable, if not disgusting and borderline criminal. But I have a somewhat different take on most of what I have read and heard.


I am not, like most commentators, “surprised,” “shocked,” or even “taken aback” by the fact that a government agency has exhibited complete and total failure in carrying out its mission. Quite the contrary! Unfortunately, that is what I have come to expect from government.


I am on record time and time again as stating that the government should not be in the healthcare business. Obamacare is going to be a nightmare, and I, for one, do not relish the thought of having some government panel making decisions about my healthcare. I want my own doctor, making decisions with me about my own medical protocols, without the government sticking its nose into it.


Now, of course, the VA is different. This organization was founded on the principle that our veterans deserve dedicated healthcare professionals, who are charged with the mission of taking care of our service people. I agree with that completely. The only problem with it is that it’s being run just like any other government agency.


Congress apparently expressed surprise and dismay that it was difficult to fire administrators within the VA, even if they were doing a bad job. How in the world can they be surprised by that?


Anyone who has been anywhere near government at any point in their lives knows that there are many obstacles placed in the way of a manager who wants to terminate a bad employee. Government jobs are treated as sacrosanct.


In the private sector, if someone doesn’t perform, they’re out. In the government, for whatever reason, we’ve developed a culture that once you get a job it is yours for life, regardless of whether you care about your work. That has to end.


And how about the top person at the VA? This guy finally had to be shown the door kicking and screaming. He thought he was entitled to stay in the position even though his performance provided nothing but embarrassment for the president. He’s the one who should be embarrassed.


As a result of the recent flurry of news about substandard care – in some cases, no care at all – provided to our veterans, we are starting to see suggestions that maybe the government would be better served by spending its money subsidizing private healthcare for veterans rather than forcing them to wait in line to get into these government facilities.


I believe that is something that should be looked at very clearly. I want to make sure our veterans get the healthcare they deserve. I also want to make sure the taxpayers get their money’s worth.


In the private sector, providing efficient services is a way of life. If you don’t, you don’t survive. In the government, providing inefficient service at an exorbitant price seems to be the norm. We have to put an end to that, or we will not survive as a country.


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