Our Veterans Deserve Better: Competition and Choice Are Key to Needed Reforms

Published by George Landrith


(Source: AP Photo/Mel Evans)


Americans love their veterans who have so bravely and consistently defended our nation from threats around the globe. Sadly, taking care of our veterans has been a longstanding challenge. I do not believe it is because of a lack of appreciation among the American public for the sacrifices of our veterans. Sadly, it would seem that policy makers have too often pursued other priorities and not paid proper attention to underfunded healthcare services and the unnecessarily complex benefits programs which have delayed necessary relief to those who have served and sacrificed.


The Veterans Administration is one of the nation’s largest with over 412,000 employees and contractors, 6,000 buildings, including 1,600 health care facilities, 144 medical centers, and more than 1,200 outpatient sites. The problem isn’t that these resources exist, but that accessing them is insanely difficult and complex.


Congress has tried to provide additional funding to the Veterans Administration and this could well help reduce the shortages that exist. With the backlog of disability claims and the need for medical attention at an all time high, however, there is more needed than just additional funding. There are important reforms that must be put into place. America enjoys a wonderful standard of living because competition and choice provide us with options from which we can choose and find the solution that best meets our needs. So any attempts to make the VA a more responsive agency, must incorporate choice and competition.


There are many good intentioned volunteers and other organization whose goal is to ensure that our veterans have help in navigating the complex and often confusing system. For example, there are....


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