Steven Greenhut posted an item about the Walter Reed situation and harkened it to a chilling look at what government run healthcare would look like.Ã‚Â ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only one thing wrong with his premise; The Army has privatized many of the services at Walter Reed Hospital and an estimated 250 of the 300 government workers who give care and comfort to wounded soldiers have left, leaving these injured men and women in the hands of a private sector business.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that the private sector is bad, per se, but this particular contractor, IAP Worldwide Services, run by a former Halliburton executive, is the same firm that did such a stellar job getting water to the residents of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.Ã‚Â It reminds me of that old joke of soldiers in a foxhole realizing their weapons were made by the lowest bidder.
SteveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s premise that care at Walter Reed amounts to socialized medicine is flat out wrong.Ã‚Â According to the Army Times, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed Maj. Gen. George Weightman, the general fired as head of Walter Reed after the story broke, because Army officials refused to allow him to testify before the committee Monday (the Army has also told soldiers who are patients there not to speak to the media).
California Rep. Henry Waxman wants Weightman to testify about an internal memo on the privatization of services at Walter Reed that could Ã¢â‚¬Å“put patient care services at riskÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Army awarded a five-year, $120-million contract to IAP Worldwide Services, and sought to privatize services as early as 2000.Ã‚Â
With Greenhut and the RegisterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s editorial board always preaching full support of the free market over government service, the Walter Reed case (and other poorly run VA hospitals across the country), is a case in point that the private sector is not always the answer.Ã‚Â HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what we should be asking in this case:
- Who gave IAP a contract to run Walter Reed?
- Why did the Army increase the governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cost to run Walter Reed by $7 Million, to make IAP bid appealing?
- After they failed in New Orleans, why did IAP getÃ‚Â the government contract forÃ‚Â Walter Reed?
- Why did 5 of every 6 Walter Reed employees, a totla of 250,Ã‚Â quit after IPA got the contract?
- What are we getting from IPA doing for our $120 Million tax dollars?
- Do conservatives really support the troops if this is th eway they chose to care for them?
- Who is to blame?
Not all VA Hospitals are poorly run.Ã‚Â HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a link to a story about a quality run VA Hospital.Ã‚Â