Letter: Reform IHS before taking on US health care
"Within the week, veterans organizations and congressmen have said the veterans health care system is in shambles. Within the last year, we read of incorrect radiation doses for up to 100 vets being treated for prostate cancer; thousands were exposed to HIV and hepatitis because certain VA hospitals failed to sanitize colonoscopy equipment before reusing it; and wounded Middle East war veterans were provided deficient care in substandard facilities. The Indian Health Service is routinely criticized for inadequate care of Native Americans. Sen. Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has often pointed out the deficient care Indians receive from the government health service.

So what could we hope to expect from a federal government run health care system for all, if two relatively small segments of society can't get adequate care through a long-established federal care systems? The federal government obviously hasn't fulfilled its responsibilities for the two health care service systems it now operates

I have a suggestion: Let's give the federal government 10 years to bring the veterans and Indian health services up to par with the private sector, then we might consider whether to give it additional responsibilities for providing health care."

Get the Story:
Thomas Mayer: Government provides poor health care (The Bismarck Tribune 7/1)

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