The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

The Medical Disaster One Democrat Wants to Unleash on America

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants government to run virtually everything — especially medical care. She supports nationalizing pharmaceutical companies and basically making medical care a domain run by politicians and their allies. While what she endorses is closer to communism, she calls it socialism—it’s easier to sell albeit less honest.

This creates problems as she must endorse government mismanaged health care or undermine her own case. One of the worst sectors for health care in the country is found in Veterans Administration run hospitals and facilities. They are scandal ridden, with long lines, poor quality care and financially wasteful. Ocasio-Cortez can’t admit any of it without putting her own radical socialism into question.

I once had a bookstore literally across the street from a major VA hospital which limped along from one scandal to another. Veterans in my area have to travel hours for care at a VA hospital and wait endlessly to see anyone. I had a friend whose care is VA related and often took him to appointments so I know how long the waits can be be and how hard it was to get appointments.

Ocasio-Cortez instead praised the VA as having “the highest quality care” and utterly without a need for reform. It’s the kind of government ownership of all medical care she proposes. Concerned Veterans of America wondered where she was living:

Anyone paying attention to the news during the last five years knows that’s just not accurate.

The VA has been plagued by scandal, including veterans dying on secret wait lists before they’re able to see doctors, among other failures.

This is the same kind of denial self-proclaimed socialists—Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez in particular—are engaging in with the meltdown of health care in Venezuela under the Socialist dictatorship there. Sanders has often endorsed dictatorships including the Soviet Union and Castro’s regime. Even as most health professionals have fled Venezuela and hospitals have no medicine or electricity, socialists in America put their fingers in their ears and hum loundly with their eyes closed waiting for the facts to go away.

ln 2017 CBS news Los Angeles reported “A new report by the VA inspector general shows 43 percent of the 225 patients who died between October 2014 and August 2015 at the Los Angeles VA were waiting for appointments or needed tests they never got.” One doctor revealed the hospital deleted intentionally records of 140,000 cases where patients were waiting for consults they didn’t get.

In D.C., according to USA Today, “ Department of Veterans Affairs officials at nearly every level knew for years about sterilization lapses and equipment shortfalls at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center, but they were either unwilling or unable to fix the problems, an inspector general’s investigation found. The failures put patients at risk and squandered taxpayer dollars.”

This “highest quality” care hospital spent $300 on equipment that normally cost $122 and $900 for a specialty needly that normally sold for $250.

When the VA decided to provide in-home hospital beds for three patients they rented the beds for 3 years at a cost of $877,000 instead of buying three hospital beds for $21,000.

They also noted, “Local, regional and national VA officials knew for years about widespread falsification of patient wait times before revelations that dozens of veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA in 2014 led to a national audit and nationwide effort to stop the practice.

In February this year USA Today found wait times a VA hospitals is far longer than at other hospitals: “At roughly 70 percent of VA hospitals, the median time between arrival in the emergency room and admission was longer than at other hospitals, in some cases by hours, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the department’s data. That included Loma Linda, where the median wait is more than 7½ hours.”

CNN reported on the “high quality” care veterans were receiving at the government-run VA hopsital in Phoenix. “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.” The hospital forged reports to show them providing excellent care but the reports were as honest as a Trump campaign rally. Military.com reported that “More than 300,000 American military veterans likely died while waiting for health care—and nearly twice as many are still waiting—according to a new Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general report.”

In Memphis, WHBQ news reported in 2018, “Sixteen patients died at the Memphis Veteran Affairs Hospital that shouldn’t have, a report said.” In addition to pathetic communication within the hospital examination rooms, food preparation rooms and other areas of the hospital were filthy and unhygenic. “Of seven patient areas inspected, the report said two had soiled furniture, all had dirty ventilation grills, and five had dirty floors.

According to the report, all 12 examination rooms were dirty and had stained walls. Also, there were “dirty ventilation grills” in food areas so inspectors could not ensure food was not contaminated.” Local Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen, when contacted about the conditions, praised the hospital and said the director as the hospital is doing a great job.”He’s very very on top of it. He works every day at improving morale and improving the physical plan. So it’s [moving] in the right direction,” said Cohen.

The VA hosptial Tampa a veteran dies and is left there. The body is then moved to a hallway and finally to a shower room where it is left for 9 hours before anyone bothered to retrieve it. An investigation found staff “demonstrated a lack of concern, attention and respect” for the deceased while standard procedure was ignored.

In Oregon as VA hospital wanted to improve their ratings for patient care, so they started cherry-picking patients to bring in patients who were less likely to have problems and ignoring the rest or sending them elsewhere.

According to the New York Times, these changes raised the facility’s ranking a full star in 2016 alone (facilities are ranked from one star to five stars). Increasing the ranking from one star to two also coincidentally resulted in its director earning an $8,120 bonus. Administrators for the Roseburg VA hospital cite the belief that the facility was not staffed to care for a large number of patients, deeming the admission reduction necessary. Doctors in the hospital’s ER, however, raised massive concerns that the new rules left many deserving veterans untreated as their own decisions were overruled by the administration on a regular basis.”

Concerned Veterans of America are right—anyone who actually paid attention to the VA medical system wouldn’t call it the “highest quality care” and certainly wouldn’t want to impose such a system on the entire country. The problem is Ocasio-Cortz and Sanders are fanatical ideologues, who cling to their socialist theory the way born-again lunatics cling to the Bible. When you are dealing with true believers facts, such as the ones outlined here, never matter to them. They know what they believe and they won’t let reality get in the way of their magical believing.

Medical care Venezuela—photo from New York Times.

In that sense they really are like the deluded fundamentalists who think Dr. Jesus is going to heal cancer with prayer. They think they can cast out demons and the blind will see and the gay will go straight. It’s a simple solution—be it Jesus or socialism. They have different prophets, different gospels, but when it comes to their faith they both act quite a bit alike.

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A blog for the Moorfield Storey Institute: a liberaltarian think tank.

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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.

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