Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jay Reding Watch - Walter Reed, Indeed

Jay bloviates:

The Walter Reed scandal will hopefully make things better for America’s injured servicemembers — but it should also serve as a warning to the rest of us. The essential problem with a government-run healthcare system is that it lacks accountability. Eliminate the ability for people to choose another system and the only remaining choice will progressively get worse. The situation at Walter Reed is the result of a military bureaucracy run amok while those who were responsible for providing care had little authority. That isn’t a particularized fault to this instance, but a systemic one to any government-run bureaucracy.

Wrong - stupidly so - on any number of levels. Firstly, I must have missed it when the government closed down all the privately-run hospitals and clinics. Even in Canada, often used as an exemplar of the universal health care system that everybody knows America needs, they still have private practices and alternatives. I can't see any future where the government closes down hospitals or where there's no alternatives to government-provided health care for those who can afford it. Money, after all, creates options.

Of course, more importantly, as Roy at Alicublog points out:

As the whole thing ramped into a major scandal, conservatives got even more creative, declaring that the Walter Reed case was really an indictment of socialized medicine, hehindeed.

This defies both common sense and expert testimony. Normal people can easily imagine what a for-profit medical corporation would do with uninsured veterans -- shove their gurneys in the general direction of a county hospital, probably, or secretly grind them down into pet food. And a little reading reveals that the privatization of many functions at Walter Reed is actually part of the problem with that once-proud institution.

Indeed, as the reporting of (who broke this story months before the so-called liberal media ever picked it up) points out:

Critics say that Chu and Winkenwerder had the wrong priorities, focusing on cutting costs while greater numbers of returning soldiers struggled against an increasingly strained military health care system. Both men know how to manage costs: Chu is an economist and mathematician who once worked in an Army comptroller office. And Winkenwerder is a former health insurance industry executive.

But their résumés also point to the problem, according to their detractors. "The military tried to run military health care on the cheap -- like an HMO," said Paul Sullivan, who until March 2006 was a top project manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs in charge of data on returning veterans. "And the consequences are the medical catastrophe and the bureaucratic nightmare that we see right now."

So it's not so much that the Walter Reed facilities devolved into suckitude because of the corrupting touch of government; it's that Walter Reed devolved into suckitude out of an effort to make it more like an HMO!

Jay Reding, wrong as usual. And not even that well-read - you'll notice that his thoughts on th subject postdate the rebuttals by at least a couple of days. But that's par for the course at, where "conservatism with attitude" is taken to mean "conservative talking points served several days stale."


Post a Comment

<< Home