As a physician, I have the privilege of knowing and helping thousands of individuals. One patient in particular stands out as a victim of government’s malignant ineptitude. He is an affable, hardworking 71-year-old male, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War. There was no Veterans Day parade for him but scorn and disdain, given the anti-war sentiment at the time.
He returned with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep apnea, hypertension and multiple other issues. He married, had children and has worked just about every day in industry until his retirement. His medical conditions grew worse and worse, as his PTSD was not diagnosed till age 69.
The Veterans Administration has done little to recognize, admit responsibility and take care of the medical consequences of the political military work our brothers and sisters performed abroad. He has fought the VA to recognize his PTSD, medical and hearing disability for years. It took three years, for instance, just to get a partial disability rating, despite his years of psychological counseling for severe PTSD. This patient revealed during an office visit that veterans share the impression that the VA’s true motto is, “Delay, deny, wait till they die.”
We all have heard of the VA scandals including the one that documents the deaths of over 300,000 vets while on medical waiting lists. And to compound insult with further injury, VA employees were financially rewarded to take dying vets off the waiting list to make the waiting times appear shorter. And still, Washington government bureaucrats still rave about how “great” VA health care and its electronic health records are every day.
When will we as independent, individual citizens, stand up for those who have fought for our rights and sovereignty? When will we stand up against the bloated federal bureaucracy in Washington DC and demand that administrative ranks be thinned, budgets be balanced, and our debt paid down instead of given away as political presents to politicians’ cronies in exchange for votes and contributions to fill their campaign coffers?
Let’s not model our health care system after the VA’s death by administration. Similar failure for patients is what the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid and other government malignant ineptitude programs will ultimately lead to. Let’s reestablish the free market in health care for individual insurance and private individualized care. Individual citizens should be empowered to make their own decisions about what care to obtain and how to obtain it guided by each individual’s value system.
Government burdensome red-tape regulations have only raised costs and complicated care administration and delivery since the federal government first intervened during World War II with tax-deductible employer-sponsored insurance, again in 1965 for Medicare and Medicaid, and again in 2010 with ACA/Obamacare. Free market competition will again create innovation, effectiveness and lowest cost of care.
• Dr. Craig M. Wax, DO, is a family physician that practices family medicine and health through prevention. He is a tireless advocate for the patient-physician relationship and free-market health care. He has been the health talk show host and executive producer for “Your Health Matters,” on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS – FM since 2002. Dr. Wax was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists of Philadelphia with an SPJ award for his ability to make complicated matters simple to understand.