But for America’s war veterans, this is all old news. If you’re looking
for an even more damning glimpse of Obamacare’s future, ask a military
veteran about their experiences with the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA). You will not find their responses reassuring.
This maze, manifest primarily in an inability to verify eligibility, is
the primary reason the VA/Obamacare comparison is so apt. In the
21st century, VA still does 97 percent of its claims process on paper,
leading to absurd delays in determining disability ratings.
Likewise, oversight reports indicate that for Obamacare “the same portal
is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is
submitted (paper, online)…at the end of the day, we’re all stuck in the
same queue.” You can put lipstick on a pig, but…
It’s inevitable that Obamacare will lead to long wait times in the
larger health care system. After all, subsidizing health care for
millions while neglecting to increase the number and capacity of health
care providers is a classic mismatch of supply and demand. Other nations
that are celebrated for their “universal” health care systems, like
Canada and Great Britain, have struggled with this quandary for decades
– just like the VA.
Recent media reports have highlighted the VA’s mountain of veterans’
claims for disability and compensation benefits awaiting processing. As
of this month, that claims inventory was still over 700,000, with
400,000 claims having waited longer than 125 days (or “backlogged”). In
some areas of the nation, veterans have waited two years or longer for
their disability and compensation claims to be processed.
This dysfunction can literally mean the difference between life and
death. A recent review of VA revealed that thousands of veterans wait
more than two weeks for a simple mental health appointment; this while
22 veterans commit suicide daily in America. When a veteran is a number,
and not a customer, it means waiting for life-saving services like
Similar stories of exorbitant wait times for other healthcare services
are commonplace across VA facilities. Need a hip replacement due to
service related injuries? Or an MRI to evaluate a service related
disability claim? Chances are you’ll wait in line for weeks, or even
And while disability claims delays have shown improvement in recent
months, veterans’ advocacy organizations of all stripes warn that VA has
sacrificed accuracy in the effort to reduce the backlog quickly. More
errors will only lead to more appeals, shifting the backlog into another
arena, and lengthening wait times.