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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM

VA health-care scandal: Stories of “socialized” care

Guest columnist Roger Stark’s criticism of the Veterans Affairs health-care system is, from all I read, legitimate [“VA wait-lists a result of socialized health care,” Opinion, June 16]. However, blaming  government-operated “socialized medicine” for the problems at the VA is much too simplistic.

The people who run the system cause the problem. Government-run universal health care and universal education has worked well in most European countries at a much lower cost than our competitive free-market-driven system.

Stark calls our system an “excellent private health-care system.” It might be for those who have money and a good insurance plan. Under this “excellent system,” my wife was charged a $25,000 “facility  fee” for a five-hour stay in a Seattle-area hospital. The operation itself was in addition to the $25,000. Her insurance company reduced the fee far below the $25,000 and the hospital accepted that reduction. I spent a night in a Brussels, Belgium, hospital with food poisoning, it did not cost me a cent, let alone a Euro.

Stark, the Washington Policy Center analyst, concludes, “[Veterans] should have access to the best and most-timely health care we can provide, even if socialized medicine advocates don’t like the idea.” Yes, Stark, we socialized-medicine proponents want to limit who gets health care to only those who can afford it.

James Behrend, Bainbridge Island

Comments | More in Veterans | Topics: health care, James Behrend, Roger Stark

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