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Don't privatize veterans' health care 

Vice Chair, Veterans United For Truth, San Luis Obispo

Somehow I missed the outrageous letter from Jamie Ford of San Luis Obispo (“Do veterans deserve socialist health care?” July 16) when it was published. While much in it is just cant and nonsense, certain points need a response.

If he or she defines veterans’ health care as “socialist,” then the entire military health care system is socialist, not to mention Medicaid, Medicare, and public health, and also not to mention local public and mental health organizations at the state and county level.

The Veterans Administration has its problems, but with a few exceptions they are not in the Health Care Administration (HCA). Ford’s organization (which I cannot find listed anywhere) “Citizens Against Socialized Healthcare” has the most appropriate acronym: CASH. Destroy veterans medicine and you will be doing nothing more than generating cash for the insurance companies, cash for the pharmaceutical companies, and cash for the giant hospital conglomerates. Remarkably, they propose to do it by taking cash out of the pockets of veterans by having them pay premiums, which they do not now pay.

As a veteran, I cherish my VA health care even though I have seldom had to use it. Medical professionals around the world acknowledge VA health care as the finest health care system going, bar none. We didn’t just fight for health care, but in fighting for you we earned it, and you can keep your hands off it!

Some veterans have trouble getting into the system, and that must be fixed, but no veteran will be helped by taking away a right they have earned and replacing it with a commercial, profit-based system that is designed to pauper the nation while it enriches a few businessmen and investors.

Do you honestly believe that killing the $47B in the budget for health care and turning it over to a for-profit bunch of failed commercial health-care merchants will result in better health care for veterans? Come on! You can’t be that naïve! If you don’t want a government system, then fine, don’t choose it, and don’t patronize it.

I’ll choose for myself, thank you, and I choose the VA: It’s my right.

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