Another part of Moran's essay features a nifty graph of Medicare versus VA spending.
There is much, much more to this graph besides the cost containment difference. Since 1995 the number of patients in the VA system has doubled to about 5.2 million. This is while over 12,000 staff were cut and the cost per patient was reduced by half. The VA often out performs the private sector -- check out these results
In 1990, before Baltimore began tracking its performance, rates of screening for breast and cervical cancer were 50 percent and 17 percent, respectively. In 2003, they were 88 percent and 87 percent.The VA is a beautiful thing, people.
Medicare officials point out that the VA has the advantage of being an integrated delivery system -- that is, a health plan in which most of the doctors are salaried employees and all care is coordinated and tracked. In Medicare, physicians work for themselves and patients are free to pick and choose their services.