In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do. By the way, our own Veterans Health Administration, which is run somewhat like the British health service, also manages to combine quality care with low costs.
Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the department in response to headline-grabbing woes, but the VA continues to be plagued by missteps, including an internal report indicating that nearly one-third of veterans with pending applications for VA healthcare likely have already died. VA officials said they were unable to determine how many veterans died, whether they truly were seeking VA healthcare or had merely indicated interest in signing up.
The VA is a “broken bureaucracy” that “continues to be plagued by a culture of neglect and mismanagement that is denying veterans … across the United States access to the quality healthcare that they were promised,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Despite its ongoing problems, the VA says it has made significant progress in the past year to improve its healthcare system and service delivery and set the course for long-term reform.