January 22, 2015
I am outraged by a call left on my answering machine tonight (at 8pm) purporting to be from the Veterans Administration asking me if I want to sign up to use a program called Choice that will allow me to get VA medical care outside the VA system from private providers.
This Choice program was intended to service veterans in rural areas where there is no VA medical center. Not a bad idea, but like the charter school movement that started out with choices of schools to students it has become a way to grab public money while providing substandard education.
What gives this medical program away is the fact that I live so close to the Albuquerque VA medical center I can walk there from my house, I do not live in a rural area – and I am happy with my local VAMC.
So what has happened is that Congress which created the doctors shortages in the VA medical system with drastic budget cuts over the years has now written legislation to allow private doctors and clinics access to all the phone numbers of veterans to call try to get them to abandon the VA medical system with false the idea of choice.
I say false because as with charter schools many parents found out that it was just a bait and switch scheme to get public money and provide bare bones education which shifts to the costs of premium schooling onto the families seeking quality education. The charter schools I have seen don’t have gyms, auditoriums, cafeterias, sports fields, book lockers or nurses on duty, for instance. Parents are all the time being asked to donate money or supplies.
Now privatization is being pushed onto veterans. We veterans must stop this or we will find our care system shutting down I fear as private providers take over and we will be at the mercy of the market like so many others.
Robert Anderson (Vietnam War combat veteran)
324 Richmond DR SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106