I just got back from one of my appointments at the VA. For all of the bad people say about the VA, it is actually a great system and it illustrates how dysfunctional our health care system has become. First, the VA is the most scrutinized government agency and they take their lumps when they deserve them. But consider how little we scrutinize private health care providers. People cite the number of actions against the VA, yet they are public record, but the private system never has to disclose the mistakes and the lawsuit settlements. Their is a huge incentive in never admitting mistakes in the private system. Next, the care at the VA is cost effective and overall very good. Yeah there are some odd rules, but considering they treat people who have the highest rate of chronic illness, they do an outstanding job. And the fact that they are all connected, they have a large experience base with what treatments are effective, and which are a waste. Also every doctor or nurse knows exactly what medical issues I have and my history. While money and budgets are a factor, it is not something that each person considers when examining the patient. They tell me which tests I should have, and which treatments are available. And they will even say which ones the VA just doesn't like doing due to cost. But also most VA hospitals are connected with major medical research and teaching hospitals. I see specialists at University of PA and Thomas Jefferson Hosp. It is the benefit of all the federal funding they receive. I have serious chronic medical issues, and I have been through the mill with the private system. And trust me it sucks. Doctors and health care providers treat insurance cards, and when you have chronic problems our system fails. Is the VA system perfect, nope. But it is amazing how good care can be when you remove the profit incentive. And the first concern of the medical professionals is my health. The other benefit is that everyone at the VA I deal with knows me. Last time I had an appointment they picked up that I was not my normal self and I didn't realize how bad I was, but they did. I know the VA is a popular target for everyone, and it used to really bite, but I will take the irritating parts of it because it is far superior to our private system.