When a nation sends its young people off to fight in a war, that nation incurs a solemn obligation to those young people. The sending nation has a moral obligation to its people to make sure they are taken care of in the event the receive injuries or sickness resulting from their service in that war. Note, we are making the assumption this is a moral nation.
America set up the Department of Veterans Affairs to oversee the nation’s obligations of medical care to its veterans. The VA as it is known today has grown into a gargantuan bureaucratic behemoth that does a good job overall but it does manifest weaknesses on occasion when it comes to providing timely and effective medical services to the veterans.
One example of the occasional shortcoming of services was so serious it cost a VA secretary, Eric Shinseki, his job. It seems a situation arose where as 40 veterans died at Arizona clinic while waiting for potentially lifesaving care. Management at the Arizona clinic claimed ignorance but the people and Congress were stirred up.
To help stem the tide of complaints Congress came up with the Veterans Affairs Choice Card. In theory, this card will allow former military personnel facing lengthy wait times or who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility to seek help from a private medical service provider and the VA will pick up the tab.
Sounds good in theory in theory but the Choice Card program is amassing a large number of complaints. The biggest of which is that the bureaucratic challenges to getting paid by the VA for services rendered is motivating private medical service providers to decline patients who intend to pay with a VA Choice Card.
The situation with the VA Choice Card Program is highlighted in a story on the website al.com titled: 142,000 veterans living in rural Alabama have VA health benefits extended that was submitted by Christopher Harress, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to the podcast episode and you decide.