Madison VFP Members Testify at VA Privatization Session
By Paul McMahon
Several experienced and VA-knowledgeable VFP members participated in a public information meeting on February 28, 2018 at the Madison Labor Temple about the future of VA medical care. The session focused on an issue that is critical to the future care of veterans in this country—namely the growing efforts to privatize the VA for corporate profit. There is a debate raging in Washington DC about how veterans should receive their health care. While there have always been attempts to privatize parts of veteran care, there have been renewed efforts after employees at the Phoenix VA blew the whistle on management fabricating patient wait lists and putting veterans at risk. Private industry and a Koch brothers-funded organization called the Concerned Veterans of America saw their opportunity and began an all-out assault campaign to take down the VA and farm it out to the private sector. The movement has been gaining support from both sides of the aisle in Washington under the guise of “helping our needy veterans” and “thanking them for their service.”
Perspective at the meeting was presented by Suzanne Gordon. Gordon is an American journalist and author who writes about healthcare delivery and health care systems and patient safety and nursing. She is author, co-author or editor of 18 books. She is currently working on a book about the innovations and clinical care at the Veterans Health Administration.
VFP members Lincoln Grahlfs, Larry Orr and Will Williams all spoke and testified about their excellent treatment at VA facilities. Ms. Gordon urged all present to contact Senators Baldwin, Johnson and their representative (Mark Pocan) to counter the privatization moves. Thanks to all who participated and helped us be better informed. Thank you especially to the American Federation of Government Employes for sponsoring this session and for some of this edited text.