| November 13, 2015
Veterans Deserve Freedom
Thank you to all those who have donned the uniform of our nation’s armed forces. Your willingness to take risks and to sacrifice for your fellow Americans is a call louder than words for the rest of us to serve, in what ways we can, our communities, our country, and our highest ideals.
It is often noted on our days of remembrance that America’s defenders stand not merely for a political regime, but for the idea that men should be free. Indeed this ideal is interwoven in our history and institutions. Of course, in our human fallibility, even when we strive for freedom we fall short. Yet sometimes we have forgotten the ideal itself.
This is sadly true with the health care we provide for our veterans. As the Veterans Administration scandal has unfolded over the last few years, it has exposed this failure. Even in a free society, the argument that some particular good is so important it must not be subject to the choices of individuals has a certain allure. This is particularly true for politicians who can claim, and might really believe, that they prove how much they care by exercising power over others.
Medicare allows the elderly to make choices about their medical care. Medicaid allows the poor to make choices about their medical care. Yet for our veterans, the system created by politicians and administered by a vast bureaucracy has denied most of those same choices to America’s veterans.
Those who have defended freedom deserve to enjoy freedom themselves, including the freedom to make choices about their own healthcare. Sadly, little has been done to address the scandals at the Veterans Administration. The real solution is to shift power away from politicians and put it back in the hands of veterans themselves.