Waterford VA

ISOA Banner  Waterford Virginia is perhaps the most iconic town I have been through. It is located in Loudoun County about 50 miles from DC.  You won’t find any franchises or many other businesses for that matter. Nor will you find cars speeding by.

Here is a little about Waterford from Wikipedia:

After falling into disrepair in the early part of the 20th century, the Waterford Foundation was formed to help save and preserve Waterford and its history. In 1974, the Waterford Foundation helped create an innovative land preservation program in which the historic properties of Waterford are protected through open space and façade easements.

The town today is largely residential, although a number of businesses are based in the village. The Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company has been located in Waterford since 1849.

The village was listed as a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1969. Waterford and a significant portion of its surrounding countryside was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.  The designation was made in recognition of the town’s well-preserved 18th and 19th-century architecture and landscape. Significant buildings include the mill (circa 1750), Arch House Row (circa 1750), Camelot School (circa 1800), the Hague-Hough house, which is Waterford’s oldest house (circa 1740), and the 1882 Presbyterian church.

I’m sure you can see from the pictures below it is almost like you were somehow sent back 200 years when you tour the town.  I don’t remember exactly why we made the detour into the town during our history trip through Virginia six years ago.  But I am glad we did.

Privatize It….

The GOP solution to almost everything that is wrong with America is to privatize it. They simply don’t think that government has much of a place in today’s American society. Democrats on the other hand believe that in many cases government is the most effective solution.  One of those disputed areas is healthcare. Which one is right? Maybe the answer lies in trying both out and see which gives the best results?

2016-05-25_08-48-26.pngFor more than two years, the Veterans Affairs department has struggled to deal with a long-buried crisis in its service to veterans, a systemic and widespread fraud that concealed long wait times at its hospitals and clinics….

Five years later, however, whistleblowers produced evidence that dozens of veterans had died while being denied access to care at the Phoenix VA. Evidence emerged that the wait-list fraud was not localized to one VA center but was standard operating procedure in much of the country. VA executives earned bonuses while veterans languished in medical limbo — and some of them perished in it, too. Obama sacked Shinseki, the only Cabinet official to resign under pressure from the president, and appointed Robert McDonald to clean up the VA.

SOURCE:  Obama’s VA scandal is much bigger than a callous Disney analogy

The VA just seems to have been plagued with troubles for most of my life. They just can’t seem to figure out what needs to be done to fix it. On the other hand Medicare is for the most part praised for its effectiveness.  As usual the solution to the VA problems is split along party lines. Each is convinced that their solution would work the best.

So, let’s see which is better.  Right now Medicare provides 55 million people with healthcare coverage. The VA provides coverage for 23 million. Why don’t we privatize the VA?  Give them a voucher for going out and getting coverage on their own and then wait and see what the results are.   The Republicans want to privatize Medicare and put us seniors on our own so lets test it with our veteran population first.  If it works out there then there would be evidence that Medicare would also benefit from privatization. If not then maybe we can finally put the privatization mantra to rest.

But, I don’t think that will happen. My GOP friends are for the most part big backers of our military establishment. They seem to not be able to see a military expense that they can turn down. I really think they can see that government provided healthcare that if properly run is the true future foundation for our nation’s healthcare system as it is for the rest of the world but they just don’t want to admit.  Why else would they keep trying to fix the VA  to make is as effective as Medicare instead of just privatizing it.

As a test of who has the best solution let’s let the Republicans privatize the trouble prone VA and see what happens…..

 

Waterford, VA….

Waterford, VA – Mill

Waterford VA is perhaps the most picturesque village I have ever visited. There are hundreds of beautifully restored 18th and 19th century homes and business within the town. If you want a peek at what America might have looked like 100+ years ago stop for a visit.

An American Hero…

Monticello, VA – Jefferson

I can’t image what America would be today without the words and ideas of Thomas Jefferson. For anyone who has visited my main blog at RJsCorner knows that he is one of my primary heroes. The sculpture above is just outside the visitor’s center at Monticello. In some very insignificant ways I like to think of myself as a chip off his shoulder. He was not afraid to think and speak of things that needed to be said. He was not without his dark side but are any of us really?

Colonial Williamsburg…

Williamsburg, VA – Early America

I have been to Colonial Williamsburg on four different occasions and am still fascinated by the place. Its quality of preservation is second to none. A lot of early American history took place on that ground. It was perhaps the intellectual capital of America in its time. If you go you must have dinner at one of the recreated inns. You just might see Patrick Henry or some other early Patriot roaming around.  It is a fascinating place truly reflects the heart of America.

Like It Or Not…

Norfolk, VA – USS Wisconsin

Like it our not the mighty guns of the battleship USS Wisconsin is part of what it means to be American. Those guns wreaked havoc when they were fired. About the only good thing I can say about modern-day drones is that they cause less collateral damage (ie innocent deaths)

Perhaps The Best…

Montpelier VA –  The Father of the Constitution

James Madison is my favorite of all the founding fathers. He was a little guy like me but had a profound affect on our country. It was primarily his wisdom that gave us the venerable constitution that drives our country. He didn’t have the large estates that Washington or Jefferson had but his historic center is well worth the visit.

Senate backs bill to improve health care for vets

2014-05-30_09-29-20Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who drafted the bill with Sanders, called the bill “a beginning — not an end — to the efforts that must be taken” to address the crisis affecting veterans’ health care…. The Senate bill, like the House measure approved Tuesday, would let veterans facing long delays for appointments or living more than 40 miles from a VA facility choose to get care from non-agency providers for the next two years. Some veterans already get outside care, but the process is cumbersome and riddled with delays, veterans and their advocates say. SOURCE: Senate backs bill to improve health care for vets – Yahoo News.

It looks like Obamacare, that is universal healthcare is alive and healthy for at least a certain population of us.  As the article above says money is not the problem with the VA, they have all they need as part of our bloated defense budget. What they need is sound responsibility and the Medicare system can provide a large measure of that.

It is nice to know that something in the healthcare field can pass congress so easily. As long as we put it in different clothes it does fine.

VA Epilogue..

2014-06-06_11-50-04As an addendum to Monday’s post about VA hospitals I see where Senator John McCain and Senator Bernie Sanders have a bill before the Senate to allow veterans access to the Medicare system when they can’t get appointments with a VA hospital or live more than 40 miles from a facility.

This could be the first step in actually accomplishing my proposal of merging the VA with Medicare and then of course eventually to single payer system.  At the least veterans should be able to choose which system they want to provide their healthcare. Who knows…. Maybe someday…

VA Hospital Problems….

2014-05-30_09-29-20Shinseki reiterated other steps he’s taken, including putting the leadership at the Phoenix facility on leave and ordering a “nationwide audit of all other major VA health care facilities to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, our appointment policy.” Some question whether removing Shinseki would address the core problems at the VA or simply serve as a distraction for now.”Is him resigning going to get us to the bottom of the problem? Is it going to help us find out what’s really going on?,” asked House Speaker John Boehner, the chamber’s top Republican, adding that his answer so far was “no.” SOURCE: Shinseki initiating removal of senior leaders at Phoenix VA – CNN.com.

I don’t know about you but it seems I have been hearing the above type problems with the VA almost all of my life. It was pleasantly surprising to see that the top House Republican saying firing another head of that agency won’t fix the problem. If fact it would probably just delay the fixes more.

I’m just a simple guy but it seems that the solution to this problem is pretty logical. Why not just put veterans into the Medicare system? I have been on Medicare for about three years now and have never had to wait more than one month to see any specialist. The article above talks about 115 day waits in the Phoenix VA hospital!  Another fundamental question seems to be why does the VA need their own hospitals? Why can’t they go to the same hospitals as the rest of us.  If PTSD or other specialists are needed I’m sure they could be hired from the existing VA or trained by the private sector.

I’m pretty sure my conservative friends would jump on this solution as WRONG. Maybe we are reversing roles here. I say let the private sector take care of our veterans the same way as they take care of us seniors.  One thing that would be nice to carry over from the VA is for Medicare to be able to negotiate drug prices. VA can presently do that while Medicare can’t. That alone would save us billions in healthcare costs.

Eventually, probably not in my life time, all our health care will be folded into a single payer system as much of the rest of the world has already done. But until that time it just seems to make sense to once and for all get rid of these perpetual problems with VA hospitals. Our young men and women who have been traumatized by their war experiences deserve it. But then again this solution just seems to be common sense and logical so I doubt that those folks in Washington will even consider it…..