An Epic Showdown Between Pro and Anti VA Privatization Forces

Hopefully regular readers here at the Washington Monthly will have read the ground-breaking investigative article by Alicia Mundy in the current edition of the magazine titled: The VA Isn’t Broken, Yet. Since that piece was published, there have been a few developments that were discussed by editor in chief Paul Glastris here and here.

Today the Boston Globe published an article by Glastris that focuses on the fact that forces behind the so-called “VA scandal” in 2014 have been attempting to lay the groundwork to privatize health care services for veterans.

Should America’s veterans receive health care at hospitals and clinics run by the federal government, as they have for more than a century? Or should they be treated by private doctors and hospitals, with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) picking up the tab?

This enormously important question will be discussed, and perhaps decided, at meetings on Monday and Tuesday of the Commission on Care. That’s a federally chartered group that is writing binding recommendations on the future of the VA.

The Commission on Care is the 15 member body that was created by Congress to respond to the allegations that surfaced in 2014. That group – which includes four executives with major medical centers that stand to gain from the outsourcing of veterans’ care and two who work for Koch-backed groups like Concerned Veterans for America – is holding meetings today and tomorrow that will include testimony from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (who oppose privatization). Glastris wonders whether anyone will notice.

So the meeting will likely be an epic showdown between pro- and antiprivatization forces that could profoundly influence the commission’s final recommendations, due out in June. Hopefully, someone from the media will be there to tell us what happened.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.