MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — With so much dissatisfaction about the delivery of services from the Veterans Administration, the prospect of privatizing health care from the federal agency drew veterans to a forum here to get a perspective from experts.
Adding to the call for privatization is the recent spate of mysterious deaths at the Clarksburg VA hospital, drawing a criminal probe from the U.S. Attorney, F.B.I and the VA inspector general.
Suzanne Gordon is a California-based policy expert who is adamant that outsourcing VA services to private contractors is not in the best interest of veterans. “Their problems are unique,” she says. “Veterans need very focused attention on treatment related to their service-connected medical afflictions.”
Joining Gordon is Cathy Kunkel, a Princeton-educated public advocate who predicts that privatization will be more costly. “It is clear that when health care is privatized consumers end up paying more for care that gives preference to insurance companies and big pharmaceutical companies and their bottom line,” says Kunkel, the presumptive Democratic party nominee for West Virginia’s second congressional district this year. She vows, if elected to the U.S. House, to oppose any measure which would outsource VA services.