EDITORIAL: Honor veterans, privatize VA

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, a holiday to honor military veterans who bravely took on the job of defending freedoms we frequently take for granted. There are about 22 million veterans in America today (and roughly 300,000 in Nevada), so it shouldn’t be difficult to find somebody to offer a handshake and a thank you.

Something else that shouldn’t be so difficult: making absolutely certain those veterans are taken care of, particularly when it comes to their physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, Veterans Affairs, the agency charged with preserving the health and welfare of our veterans, is a symbol of federal incompetence. The agency neglects veterans through unacceptable delays in processing claims, scheduling appointments, providing treatment and even building new medical centers.

Recent VA reforms didn’t go far enough. If it’s OK for some veterans to seek care outside the VA system, shouldn’t every veteran have that choice? We’d do our veterans a far better service by providing them with private-sector health plans or vouchers they could use at any doctor’s office or hospital in the nation.

Anybody who believes nationalized health care is the answer to this country’s health care problems — and many still believe that to be true, even after the awful rollout of Obamacare — needs only look at the unaccountable VA system to see that a government medicine monopoly is not a viable or affordable solution.

The best way for Washington to honor our veterans is to privatize the VA.

Happy Veterans Day.

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