Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Foretaste of Nationalized Health Care

I was just thinking yesterday that the media uproar over the shortcomings of Walter Reed and more broadly within the Veterans Administration (VA) might be a sober lesson on socialized medicine. Then I come across the very same point, made by Mike Pechar at My Pet Jawa.

Mike observes the following:
Even as the alleged deficiencies at Walter Reed hospital are being investigated, politicians and pundits are weighing in with their opinions and, from what I've heard, the primary complaints are mismanagement and lack of funds. Multiply everything being said and the investigative findings a thousand-fold and the result is -- the chaos of a national health care system.
Anybody who’s ever served in the military knows that, of all Government institutions, the military remains the most socialist (as least as Socialism appears in practice versus theory). Highly centralized management, criticism averse, a directive leadership style, and a hide-bound commitment to the status quo and a high resistance to change. Commanders at all levels tend to want to tell you what to think instead of the other way around, and they can tend to want to shoot the messenger who shares “bad news.” I admire those who serve, and I value the many strengths of the institutions involved, but these other characteristics are nonetheless true.

It may well do most things several orders of magnitude better than other Government agencies and institutions, but the military has never done health care as well as its soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen have deserved.

That isn’t because the people involved don’t care – not the Doctors, or nurses, not the Administrators nor the clerical staff, not the Commanders nor leaders at all levels trying to get the job done. No government organization, constrained by funding on one side, and by excessive regulation on the other – will ever do as good a job as the ideal sum of its parts. Maybe it’s in the nature of any human endeavor, but when you put so many moving parts together, and try to juggle a multitude of purposes and objectives, indulge certain failings but attempt an unrealistic “zero tolerance” in others, these ingredients will inevitably add up to one great big mess.

Mike hits the target squarely on the head. If the military, with only a few million to care for, can’t do the job well, “how can Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, et al., claim that a national health care system for 300,000,000 will do any better?”

And the answer is, of course, that it won’t. But that won’t stop the political Pied Pipers from dancing the universal healthcare jig, and using the opportunity of veteran misfortune to further their aims for a more socialized medicine.

No doubt, as with their private jets, gargantuan mansions, and carbon offsets, these same legislators will no doubt ensure themselves a private form of healthcare for themselves. Separate, but you may wonder if it’s equal.

(Via Mudville Gazette's Dawn Patrol)


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