Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) has made a name for himself kowtowing the Tea Party line. First, he said liberal Americans were this country’s “greatest threat.” Later, Buck tacked hard-right on abortion, coming out against exceptions even in cases of rape or incest.
Buck has also doubled-down on his Tea Party credentials by calling for Veterans Administration hospitals to be privatized. At a Pueblo Tea Party meeting this summer, Buck told attendees that the VA hospital system would “be better run” if it were privatized:
BUCK: Would a Veterans Administration hospital that is run by the private sector be better run then by the public sector? In my view, yes. But, does the funding for something like that have to come from the public sector and not from the injured veteran’s pocket? Yes.
In fact, the VA hospital system is one of the most heralded parts of the American health care system. A 2005 Washington Monthly article called it “the highest quality care in the country.” A head-to-head comparison in 2003 between Medicare patients who were free to choose their own private doctors and veterans who were covered by the Veterans Health Administration, the New England Journal of Medicine found the latter “significantly better” on all 11 measures of quality. In addition, a 2006 survey found that veterans are significantly more satisfied with their care than civilians who received private care.
For Buck, however, it’s more important to toe the Tea Party line of privatization than continue allowing veterans to receive the high quality health care they deserve.