VA Scandal Shows How Government Works, Not A Government Failure

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from FORBES,

In a for-profit business, serving customers are how one makes money and it is important to keep customers happy. Customers do not like waiting, so businesses work hard to avoid excessive waiting by the customers. They do this in order to make more profit. Government agencies do not have a profit motive. The workers and supervisors have no reason to care about their “customers” except their own pride in doing a good job or perhaps hope of a promotion.

If you stop to think about the parts of the U.S. that are not working well, they are almost all things that the government provides, not the free market. Public education, public mass transit, government offices, and the example of the moment: the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What is the shared feature of government provision of goods and services that leads to problems? That’s easy; the customer does not pay or pays only indirectly through taxes that are not connected to their use of the service.

The VA health system is the epitome of a government service. It is the liberals’ generation-long dream of a single-payer nationalized health care system. The government employs all the workers and pays all the bills. The veterans may think they are the customers, but they do not pay the bills. The people providing their health care know that they work for the government, not the veterans.

The true scandal is not that people within the VA created fake waiting lists to hide the real, months-long wait which caused some veterans to die. The true scandal is that such a system was created in the first place. This is how government-provided, nationalized health care works. It budgets money for a certain amount of service and then rations that amount amongst its patients through a waiting system. Canada and Britain are both perfect examples of such health systems that apply to all citizens and the same sorts of tragic deaths occur in both countries thanks to the uncaring hand of government and the lack of a profit motive to encourage anybody to do better.

The VA scandal may at least produce some good if it educates people about the dangers of relying on the government. If so, our veterans will once again have done their country a service at great personal sacrifice.

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