During an interview on “The Breakfast Club” on Monday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) explained that he believes a government-controlled health care system, a la Canada, would result in less bureaucracy and, therefore, better, cheaper care.
“Right now, we are paying twice as much per capita for health care as they do in Canada because they don’t have a system which enables the drug companies and the insurance companies to make huge profits,” Sanders said. “Their system is simpler. There is not all kinds of waste and bureaucracy.”
Watch the video below:
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 4, 2019
While Sanders clearly believes that a government-controlled health care system in Canada results in less bureaucracy, that’s not what the people of Canada are witnessing, with some of the longest patient wait times in the developed world.
But that’s Canada.
To bring the argument to the U.S., Sanders needs to look no further than the Veterans Administration (VA), the government-controlled health care system that already exists in the U.S.
As part of the American people’s debt to those who served in the military, the VA is a taxpayer-funded administration that provides benefits, including health care, to those who served.
The VA, however, has been failing to provide prompt care to veterans, and there are several heartbreaking stories of veterans whose medical care was put on hold due to the unending bureaucracy of the administration.
In 2017, Dr. Stewart Levenson joined other health care providers in becoming whistleblowers on the care provided by the VA. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Levenson explained that conditions in the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire — once labeled a four-star hospital by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — were some of the worst he had seen, to the point that veterans’ lives were put at stake.
He claimed he was unable to sort through the bureaucracy to address the conditions from within, forcing him to whistleblow to the Globe.
“I have never seen a hospital run this poorly — every day it gets worse and worse. I never thought I would be exposing the system like this,” Levenson said. “But I went through the system and got nowhere.”
In 2017, President Donald Trump tried to address this problem by signing a bill that allowed veterans to go to private hospitals with better conditions called the “Veterans Choice” program.
Last year, I signed the landmark VA Accountability Act to ensure those who mistreat our Veterans can be held fully accountable. Since my inauguration, we have removed more than 3,600 government employees who were not giving our Vets the care they deserve…. pic.twitter.com/KqWXXt7D4U
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
Still, a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) in June 2018 found that veterans had to wait an average of 70 days to see a private doctor due to poor bookkeeping and management from the VA’s “Choice” program.
“VA lacks assurance that veterans are receiving care from community providers in a timely manner,” the report noted.
“To the extent that these factors persist under the consolidated community care program that VA plans to establish, they will continue to adversely affect veterans’ access to care,” the GAO added, pointing to the bureaucratic system.
While Sanders may claim that a government-controlled health care system would cut back on bureaucracy in health care, that’s not the result American veterans are seeing today.