My view: Ask a veteran about their health care


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  • lcg Bluffdale, UT
    Dec. 29, 2013 9:04 p.m.

    My father has had hearing problems for years. He is living on social security supplemented by help form his children. My sibling all pitched in a few years ago to get him hearing aids but they need to be replaced and there is no money to do so. While at the VA a week or so ago, he was in the waiting room and another vet told him the VA would pay for new hearing aids. What a surprise that the VA doctors, knowing his problem, have had never given him this information.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 13, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    I like the flow of the comments above, both specifically about the VA and the ACA.

    What troubles me is once again the DN has published an "editorial" piece that is simply fear by anecdote. It's the whole "millions will.."whatever it is they are trying to make you afraid of, and then cite a single case. In reality as Schnee so aptly points out to another poster, millions across the spectrum of the American population is a fraction of a percent. Heck millions will have their credit cards hacked this year while using them at a gas pump.

    The other troubling point is the incessant claim by their editorials that the ACA is a government run health care system. Tabloids do this not credible newspapers. Tell the truth. If you think this is a step to single payer as 2bits does. and you oppose single payer fine let's talk but as journalists you owe it to your public to start with the truth.

    the first amendment gives you the right to deceive , but that doesn't mean you should.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:19 p.m.

    @Ultra Bob

    I know the government can help regulate commerce and it should as it outlines in the Constitution. Sometimes Government regulation turns into more of a hindrance to law abiding citizens though. For instance Large businesses and banks can take advantage of economies of scale when navigating complicated regulations where as small and midsize businesses struggle to keep up with legal requirements and the costs to pay accountants and attorneys to comply. You can't make blanket statements that only those who decry are sinners. There are innocent and guilty mixed on both sides.

    Healthcare is an area where regulation has made it easier for larger insurers to squeeze out smaller competition. The marketplace as become ineffective as it becomes more regulated. The key to this is to turn insurance back into what it should be and make it affordable just like term life insurance has made life insurance affordable. then we can wrangle over how to best help the poor, the old and the unfortunate sick (I am excluding those who through, drugs, alcohol, wild dangerous acts or negligence on their own part create there own health problems).

  • ute alumni Rakuen, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    Better yet, ask an American Indian about their healthcare. it's great. 3.5 MM indians and IHC runs out of money by May. barry thinks the feds can handle 320 mm people. only he is so arrogant to think it is possible.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 5:01 p.m.

    The people who cry about government interference are people who want the freedom to harm people. It is only when these people get into government that the government harms people. Only when society through their government controls who and how medical service is supplied to us will there be a better health care system.

    It’s why we have food and drug regulations, and all the other protections from each other.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    @Thid Barker
    "rife with fraud (the government paid more than $120 million in Medicare for prisoners and illegal immigrants and another half billion in fraudulent claims, overbilling and other wastes in 2012)

    Medicare is a 600-700 billion dollar annual program. The 620 million of waste/fraud you mention is 0.1% of Medicare spending. That's actually a really good ratio if your numbers are correct.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Single payer is just the next logical step in the progression to what President Obama and many of his supporters have said is their long term goal... Government managed healthcare.

    I know ACA is not a single-payer system. And it's not Socialized Medicine. But those are the next logical steps if we are going to move this direction. If we're not allowed to discuss the long term until we have taken all the baby steps it takes to get there... it will be too late to even discuss it by the time that last step happens.


    I'm looking down the road 10-20 years (not just today).

    Let's talk about what President Obama has expressed (it's all caught on video) that this is just the firs step. He told a group of supporters who wanted the "single-payer" system NOW that he thinks it will take 10 years for Americans to become ready for single-payer system he really wants. And if Hillary Care is coming... we may as well talk about it, and the probably consequences before it is right around the corner.

    ACA is just one step.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Dec. 12, 2013 12:11 p.m.


    Then you have the fraud problems that exist in the current medicare/medicaid system. Also what controls do you have on people that abuse medical care. They already have this problem on Cadillac plans and those rates continue to go up and also effect everyone elses healthcare costs. You have to insitute death panels or you have to limit the medicare to just basic services and people have to pay more for extra stuff.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    A single payer system would leave hospitals and doctor clinics in the hands of their private owners. Nobody in an elected office has actually proposed a universal system like the VA is. And the ACA is nowhere close to a universal system. It's trying to accomplish a single payer type system, without single payers. The government won't own hospitals, large corporations will still own them. So the government will have nothing to do with what hospitals get upgraded, or what equipment they get. I mean it will still be a faceless bureaucrat, but they will work for IHC, or HCA or one of the other hospital owners in the country, not the feds. Even if single payer was implemented that would be the case.
    That's why the ACA faces so many problems. A single payer would require everyone to pay in, so the numbers absolutely would work.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    The VA model illustrates my main concern with Government Healthcare though.

    Who decides who/where will get a new hospital, new equipment, doctors, etc? It's not a LOCAL decision. It's not a business decision. It's a POLITICAL decision. It's some bureaucrat back in Washington (Like the IRS people... who probably feels it's OK to use his power to decide who gets the next new hospital to help the political party he likes). So the place to get the next new government hospital won't be the community that needs it the most, or the community that will pay to build it... it's the community they need to butter-up to win the next election (swing-states, Ohio, Florida, etc, to win their vote).

    We've already had this with the IRS. We've had it with defense facilities (threaten to pull them when they need votes or budget is tight). Transportation projects (anybody notice the projects granted to Ohio and Florida right before the election in hopes of nudging their votes towards Obama. It happens. You can deny it... but it happens already. I don't want somebody playing politics with my healthcare.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    @ Noodle. That is only true if you can force enough young and healthy people to pay for what they will not receive so to pay for the older, sick people. Healthcare actuaries' math is not happening, so far. I'll take the word of actual experience over what liberal politicians dream about.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    I understand things have improved at most VA hospitals recently... but when I need urgent medical help I would still rather go to ANY private non-profit hospital (like any IHC or UofU hospital) than go to the VA hospital.

    IF the VA was not subsidized by tax payers... their costs would be at least as high as any other hospital.

    I don't think most people would actually pass up other hospitals to go to a VA hospital out of pure preference (in an apples-to-apples comparison where their care at the VA hospital cost as much as any other hospital because their VA care wasn't highly subsidized by tax payers).

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    These aren't the same thing at all? How many hospitals has the US government built or purchased to implement the ACA(i'll give you a hint, it's less than one) But there are dozens of VA hospitals across the country. ACA mandates that people pay into the current insurance system that we have, the VA is universal healthcare. No one has proposed a universal healthcare system. Not one national politician. Even if Obama got his original single payer plan passed it would be nothing like the VA, it would be medicare for all, which is not even close to the same thing.
    If all americans got their insurance through Medicare it wouldn't be broke, due to healthy people paying in and as a whole using less than they pay it. Healthcare actuaries have done the math, they say it would work, and i'll take the word of a bunch of boring guys who love math over what politicians say.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    My first doctor in Salt Lake City (1968) prescribed an operation to remove part of my innards because of a condition called diverticulitis.
    Other opinions said it was unnecessary. Now after 46 years I’m still glad I got the second opinion.

    A few years ago I was having trouble with gout on my big toes. The private doctor told me I was in danger of having fallen arches and I needed to wear some special boots. After spending $3200.00 for the boots and wearing them part of a year, the VA doctors finally convinced me that problems with my feet had nothing to do with the boots. VA doctors cured my gout to my great pleasure.

    While I’m still a fan of you get what you pay for, I don’t believe that medical care should be a profit making business

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    In all the previous wars the odds of dieing if you got hurt was a good chance you did. The current one the odds are good that you will come home but not in good shape.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    I'd sure most people would choose crappy coverage,
    over no coverage at all.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    After the Navy I resumed civilian life with a family doctor and in the next 45 years had 6 or more private doctors through no fault of my own. So much for keeping your own doctor.

    When my meds got to about a thousand dollars a month, went to the VA and reduced my med cost to about $150. 00 a month. Losing 4 private doctors in the last 3 years, one to a church mission, 2 to better career positions and 1 to be closer to his HIV patients.

    In the last 6 years I have had 4 new doctors, at the rate of 1 every 18 months. All have been young highly motivated doctors with great support groups.

    About the time of the Obama presidency the mood of the interns seemed to turn to grumpy. I attributed this to the probability that in Utah they were probably republicans.

    I have had very few problems with the health care at the VA hospital and those that I had were with the privatized part of the service.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 12, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Liberal Larry. Medicare is broke (no money) rife with fraud (the government paid more than $120 million in Medicare for prisoners and illegal immigrants and another half billion in fraudulent claims, overbilling and other wastes in 2012) and more and more doctors will not accept Medicare patients.

    Hard to hold up Medicare as a well run program. But, but Obamacare will be different, right?

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    I wasn't aware that "ObamaCare" was a government-delivery of healthcare. I thought the healthcare was provided by private doctors using commercial insurance.

    Comparing the VA to "ObamaCare" is laughable at best. VA is a government-owned, government-funded healthcare system using government employees. It is like comparing pears and raspberries.

    Yes, I've heard of the problems at the VA, and I've also seen the good work they do, while being horribly underfunded. My father had a heart attack and needed bypass surgery. Because of maintenance issues at the VA hospital in Salt Lake at the time, he was taken to the University of Utah Medical Center and had his surgery there, then was transferred back to the VA. He was treated professionally and compassionately. His recovery has been remarkable and he has nothing but good things to say about them.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Dec. 12, 2013 6:52 a.m.

    Better yet, ask people how they like the very popular Medicare!

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 12, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    Access to care can be a problem for some.

    "Yet here's a curious fact that few conservatives or liberals know. Who do you think receives higher-quality health care. Medicare patients who are free to pick their own doctors and specialists? Or aging veterans stuck in those presumably filthy VA hospitals with their antiquated equipment, uncaring administrators, and incompetent staff? An answer came in 2003, when the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a study that compared veterans health facilities on 11 measures of quality with fee-for-service Medicare. On all 11 measures, the quality of care in veterans facilities proved to be "significantly better."

    Here's another curious fact. The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published a study that compared veterans health facilities with commercial managed-care systems in their treatment of diabetes patients. In seven out of seven measures of quality, the VA provided better care.

    ...the National Committee for Quality Assurance today ranks health-care plans on 17 different performance measures. In every single category, the VHA system outperforms the highest rated non-VHA hospitals."
    (Washington Monthly 2005)

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 6:41 a.m.

    We need single payer. Then, everybody, veterans and your regular joes would have health coverage. The tone of this article is that the ACA won't work because the VA doesn't work, but at least veterans have coverage; your regular joe often doesn't.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 12, 2013 6:28 a.m.

    As veteran myself --

    I blame Republicans for sending us to fight their stupid wars,
    and then cutting our benefits AFTER the fact.

    Warriors don't pay toward their re-election campaigns,
    Defense contrators do.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 12, 2013 5:55 a.m.

    CUT CUT CUT, except where it affects me.

    I agree that we owe our veterans what was promised. But, it costs money.

    Health care costs are skyrocketing.

    What is this writers solution?

    Maybe we need to factor in the full and complete cost of war and think harder and longer before we interject our country and our military in every conflict around the world.