Think Tank: VA Scandal Gives Glimpse into Single-Payer System

Montgomery VA Medical Center / AP

Montgomery VA Medical Center / AP

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Conservative think tank American Action Forum put forth research Monday examining the efficiency of single-payer, government-run health care.

The report cites the recent Department of Veterans Affairs scandal as a likely consequence of the bureaucratic system, calling into question whether a single-payer system can be an effective system.

According to AAF’s research: 

The VHA boosters were right about one thing: The VHA is a model for a single-payer, government-run health care system. It is a model for how easy it is to manipulate performance measures for years without being detected. The system costs more than other health care options but data are selectively reported to make it appear that it costs less; bureaucratic manipulation of performance data make the system appear to be working well; and administrators collect their bonuses – while veterans die awaiting care.

There is a tragic human cost to this bureaucratic manipulation, but that cost does not show up in official figures. The deaths – or extended illnesses, disabilities, and unnecessary discomforts – of veterans on the unofficial VHA waiting lists didn’t show up until whistle-blowers started to leak the truth. It is these human costs which are the true price of a single-payer, government-run health care system.