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June 10, 2014 5:17 PM Two Cheers For Bipartisanship on VA Waiting Lists

By Ed Kilgore

Amazingly, the House unanimously passed legislation today to deal with the waiting list problem for veterans trying to access the VA health system. The bill was apparently modeled on the earlier deal struck by Sens. Bernie Sanders and John McCain, and will include both emergency hiring of more VA health professionals and a “private option” in certain circumstances.

On this latter point, before offering a third cheer for bipartisanship, check out Phil Longman’s critique of the Sanders/McCain agreement on grounds that the “private option” provision could eventually lead to an unraveling of what has made the VA system successful for those actually under its care. Indeed, in clearing the current legislation, House Republicans made it clear they’ll soon offer additional proposals to promote privatization of health care for veterans. They know a camel’s nose under the tent when they see it.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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