The two excellent articles about veteran’s health care (The Advocate, Feb. 27) are solid examples of the medical insurance lobby going after the biggest and most lucrative book of taxpayer dollars: the VA medical system.
At first blush, it appears to be about “eligible veterans’ ” struggle to get health care. Not true. Both articles are about destroying the VA medical system and replacing it with a private insurance program or a nonprofit corporation. The nonprofits can pay exorbitant salaries, courageously inflate drug costs and charge outrageous premiums, just like most medical insurance companies. There is mega money which easily spills to the political action committees or to the campaign coffers of both Democrats and Republicans. (Read “America’s Bitter Pill” by Stephen Brill, a great analysis of the gift of “Obamacare” to the Republicans — my opinion.)
Gov. Bobby Jindal is the self-appointed “go-to” medical wonk in the Republican Party and his privatization of our charity system originally included the VA medical, but alas, there is the big bad federal government with civil servants doing a very efficient job. After his duplicitous “Honor Medal” program hit snags along with his presidential bid, it became necessary for vicious Sen. David Vitter to step in and use taxpayer money to ensure the takeover of VA medical and put that money in the coffers of the insurance companies and nonprofits.
How did Vicious Vitter use “tax” dollars for this corporate rape or takeover? Create a “crisis” at certain VA medical facilities after some political strategist usurped or planted the line “47 VA applicants” died while seeking VA medical help. Get the “crisis” in the public arena and you dodge the obvious conflicts of interest and pesky campaign ethics rules. There is the additional political plus of attacking President Barack Obama as a failed president and arranging to have Sen. John McCain endorse Congressman and Dr. Bill Cassidy.
I recently learned from Secretary David LaCerte, of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, at a briefing at Fort Polk that “we have hired a lobby group” and that he was pleased that Louisiana now has a senator (Cassidy) who will be on the veterans committee and he will not have to talk to someone from Florida about veterans benefits in Louisiana.
And this propaganda battle was on your tax dollars, which also explains why Jindal is so smug about all of the Louisiana budget cuts. He and Vitter have created a budget scenario which will necessitate some “tax” give, but any increase in tax or income will not go to assist “eligible military veterans” but to the privatized (corporate) VA medical system.
It is the vicious circle of corporate welfare.
Ronald R. Thompson
colonel, U.S. Army, retired