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Health Care ‘Choice’ For Veterans Could Leave Many Without Options
After three years of crisis and controversy, the Department of Veterans Affairs has reached a watershed moment, and decisions about how to strengthen and reform its health care system must be made this year. The central element of this debate lies in the design — how can we create new care options for veterans outside the VA without inhibiting access or reducing quality for those who choose and rely on the VA system?
Since the waiting list scandal at Phoenix VA exploded in the spring of 2014, the idea of providing veterans with more choices has been a key part of discussions over how to improve veterans’ health care. However, some politicians and political organizations have promoted solutions that focus more on providing veterans with “choice” than with the best possible health care outcomes.
Unfortunately, the frequent use of the term choice — without any clear definition or specifics – has only added to the complexity and confusion of this debate. To help clarify matters, DAV recently launched a new video, “Putting Choice in Context,” along with accompanying social media and grassroots efforts, to educate veterans and policymakers about what choice could really mean.
For example, some people have said that choice would allow veterans the ability to pick their own doctors. But since many doctors don’t accept choice payment rates, relying on choice could leave veterans without the ability to find a qualified physician. Some have claimed that providing all veterans with choice would lead to better quality health care; however, independent studies by Rand Corp. and others have consistently shown that VA already provides equal or better care than the private sector and that choice will lead to more fragmented care, which correlates with worse health outcomes. Finally, some say that choice will increase access, but this isn’t true for millions of veterans. If choice expands and moves more veterans to the private sector, VA would be forced to close some hospitals and clinics and reduce medical services in others, disrupting service for millions of veterans who rely on VA and limiting their options for care.
After 18 months of debate, the congressionally mandated Commission on Care reached the same conclusion as DAV, other veterans groups, the VA and many members of Congress — the best way to improve veterans’ health care is to create an integrated network combining the strength of the VA system with the best of private care. With a new president, VA secretary, and Congress in place, it’s critical that any debate over choice consider the cost, impact on VA, and the resulting consequences for veterans, particularly disabled veterans. As the new administration and Congress begin to debate VA health care reform this year, choice must be considered in the context of the overall VA health care system.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.