Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 7/25/14
Starting with the revelation that as many as 40 military veterans died while waiting for care at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix, stories coming from the Department of Veterans Affairs have coalesced into one giant allegory on government-run health care.
The latest installment comes from Tennessee.
According to a story at Breitbart.com, Ken Moore, a Vietnam veteran, was denied disability benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Moore is unable to walk or speak. He suffers severe pulmonary problems as a result of exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam.
He has cancer.
According to Breitbart, in the official assessment that was filed in connection with his disability application, Mr. Moore’s doctor said, “I do not think that there is a reasonable likelihood that he will improve to the point that he can return to work.”
Assuming that the facts are as reported, it seems clear that Ken Moore is the very embodiment of the type of military veteran for which the VA was created. One cannot imagine that his application for disability would do anything other than sail through the process.
That is unless one first imagines a giant, bloated, pustulated federal government that becomes less effective at carrying out its basic functions with the passing of every single day.
Mr. Moore can’t walk. He can’t talk. He has trouble breathing. He’s battling cancer.
Yet in response to Moore’s application, the VA sent a letter saying that his condition did not preclude him from getting a job and that the disability application was therefore denied.
You have to wonder, what was the VA bureaucrat who generated that letter looking at when he or she denied Ken Moore his benefits?
Did anyone actually read what was submitted? Or was some check box on some form not completed or some key word omitted that in the process-over-substance world of government somehow resulted in some computer somewhere generating a boilerplate rejection letter?
We, of course, will never know – even though we pay the $152 billion in taxes that the VA says it needs for its 2014 fiscal year budget.
Mr. Moore’s story doesn’t end badly. A local television station took up the story and Mr. Moore finally got the benefits to which he is so clearly entitled. But that it took the intervention of a TV reporter tells you a lot about the intransigence of the VA bureaucracy.
My point in this story is not that the VA needs fixing, which clearly it does. My point is that the VA is a microcosm of a national health care system and Obamacare is nothing but a precursor to national health care.
National health care might just work in a country like Finland – with roughly the land area of New Mexico and roughly the population of Dallas-Ft. Worth.
But in a country of 315 million spanning an entire continent, national health care will make tens of thousands suffer needlessly before finally killing them.
That’s why stories about the VA are about so much more than the VA.