Broun: VA scandal offers a glimpse into disaster promised by Obamacare

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki addresses the audience during the DOD/VA Mental Health Summit in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26, 2009. The summit was the first of its kind and featured mental health experts from both departments, other cabinet agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The goal was to discuss a public health model for enhanced mental health care for returning troops, veterans and their families. (DoD photo by Cherie Cullen)

While the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was a step in the right direction, it did not solve the obviously systemic problems negatively affecting America’s veterans and their families.

This is just the first step in fixing the VA. Our work is not done.

The VA scandal is far worse than a scandal – it is a moral outrage. Americans who served our nation in the armed forces were denied treatment; forced to endure additional pain and suffering; and, in some cases, ultimately died because of lack of care.

It has now come to light that VA employees may have been incentivized to withhold care to earn bonuses. And, of course, they lied about it all, devising schemes to cover-up the wretched misdeeds.

Unfortunately, I fear that the VA outrage is a harbinger of things to come under Obamacare. The warning lights are flashing and the sirens are wailing, signaling this frightening message: “Americans, welcome to your future of government-run health care.”

Since the federal government allows cold, ruthless denial of care and resulting death to those with whom there was supposedly a covenant to provide care, what will the emerging Obamacare bureaucracy do to the average citizen? What will it do to you? Do you expect reason, compassion or competence?

AS A FAMILY PHYSICIAN FOR 40 YEARS; a Marine veteran; a medical doctor recently honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserves at the rank of commander; and a congressman; I consistently opposed Obamacare because of my concerns that it will result in health-care rationing, and increase costs in both financial and human terms. Like the VA, it may even result in delays that cost people their lives.

Nothing on Earth is more personal, more private or more important than our health and health care. It’s literally a matter of life and death.

I understand why politicians and bureaucrats with an insatiable desire for power want to control every aspect of our lives, including our health care. But, for the life of me, I have no idea why so many Americans are willing, even eager, to cede control over their health care – and, thus, their very lives – to the federal government!

Why do millions of Americans place blind faith in government, looking to it to solve every problem? The facts speak so loudly that if you want something to cost more, take longer and operate on reason-defying principles, then put the federal government in charge! So why trust the federal government to run health care?

THE VA SCANDAL PROVES this is a very bad idea indeed.

Obamacare is not about health care, but about the expansion of federal power at the expense of good medicine, and at the cost of American liberty. Americans must realize that Obamacare will result in the inefficiencies of the VA system for everyone.

We must fix the problems at the VA, ensure quality care for veterans and, ultimately, repeal Obamacare before it’s too late. Replace it with the conservative solution, H.R. 2900, my Patient OPTION Act.

This column first appeared in The Augusta Chronicle.

About the author

Paul Broun

Paul Broun, a Republican, is the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 10th House District, and a physician.