VA lesson: Can federal government be trusted with health care?

by Rep. Gene Whisnantgene-whisnant.serendipityThumb (R-Sunriver)

Is This the New Standard for Health Care?

As a retired military officer and advocate for military veterans; I am “mad as hell” about the Veterans Administration (VA) treatment for our deserving men and women who are responsible for our freedom. As we continue to see this disturbing story unfold at the federal level, it is my opinion that some workers at VA medical centers in fact purposely delayed services for our honorable veterans. It appears many died waiting for medical care.

I also strongly oppose Governor Kitzhaber transferring Oregonians’ health insurance exchange to the Federal Government without the input or approval of the Oregon Legislature, the individuals who represent Oregonians. Many Oregon legislators voted to have a state insurance exchange because they did not want the Federal Government in charge. Many of our questions about the failed Oregon exchange remain unanswered.

Despite differing legal opinions regarding the Governor’s authority to transfer the exchange, the Governor used his executive power to move forward with the transfer. Why did the Governor rush to take executive action without legislative input on an issue on which previously he had worked hard on to get bi-partisan support? Some may argue that the Governor needed this $248 million issue off his plate before the 2014 November election.

Given the troubling VA system that is failing our nation’s veterans, can Oregonians really trust the federal government to competently oversee our own health care enrollments and treatment? If they cannot provide quality and timely health care for our 20 million military veterans; how will they provide it for 317 million Americans?

Rep. Whisnant is a retired USAF Colonel who served in Vietnam, Germany, Yugoslavia, and the Pentagon.