As a veteran nearing the age when getting medical care will likely be a regular activity, I'm very interested in the back and forth between 3rd District congressional candidates Bob Thomas and Mark Souder over VA hospitals. As Thomas tells it, Souder didn't care all that much about the local hospital until a veterans' group put pressure on him. The way Souder sees it, Thomas wants to close all the hospitals and callously put veterans in a "Medicaid-like system."
I think I'm more with Thomas on this, insofar as I can discern his actual position.
" The veterans should be able to go to the hospital of their choice, to the doctor of their choice, to the pharmacy of their choice."
Thomas says along with those expanded care options, veterans should still be able to count on the Veterans Administration providing the same level of coverage at the same cost to the patients.
I don't see any particular benefit in going to a veterans hospital just to have the status of being in a veterans hospital. If we owe medical care to our veterans (and we can have a debate about that if you want to), the goal should be to get the best care for the lowest price. It seems to me that's more likely with some kind of voucher system (which veterans can use at existing hospitals and care facilities) rather than trying to keep an underfunded and understaffed VA hospital going.