As the nation celebrates Veterans Day, the future of the health care system, upon which over nine million veterans depend, is in doubt. A variety of bills in Congress are calling for the full or partial privatization of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—the nation’s largest and only fully integrated healthcare system.
Trump’s Veterans Day Present To Vets
The Trump administration has taken an ambiguous position on VHA privatization. While insisting that he does not want to privatize the VHA, President Trump says he wants to triple the number of veterans who receive private healthcare. More disturbing is the fact that VA leadership is starving hospitals and programs of needed resources and staff. The VHA, for example, currently has over 34,000 vacancies. With the support of many Democrats, by next year the VHA as we know it may be on its way to extinction.
As Congress and the press litigate the future of the VHA, they continue to have the wrong conversation based on a total misrepresentation of the VHA’s record in providing quality care to veterans. The truth—documented by study after study—is that the VA healthcare is not only equal, but also often superior to that provided by private sector hospitals and doctors. As we have written in a report on the VHA for the American Legion, in many areas—mental health and coordinated, team-based primary care, geriatric care, end-of-life care, and homeless programs—the VHA provides care that is unparalleled in the private sector. READ MORE