The VA sponsors outside research conducted at the MITRE Corporation (LINK and overview, LINK). They, in turn, subcontract with other researchers like the RAND corporation. RAND has a webpage (LINK) dedicated to opinion pieces, report downloads, and other information. They were subcontracted by the MITRE Corporation to conduct three assessments on the “Choice Act.”
It is somewhat amusing to read how MITRE’s work includes tips on increasing VA’s engagement with veterans.
…Veteran Experience and Engagement: Learn innovative ways to be part of the discussion with veterans, increase veteran engagement, and better understand their experience with VA, and empower them to improve their transition to civilian life and beyond…
They should read a few years of BVA denials for a better sense of veterans’ actual engagement experiences with VA. No fine sounding unbiased words in those!
The RAND Corporation wrote three book/assessments which can be accessed and read from this webpage (LINK) as well as the 24-page summary (click image).
Opinion: This key finding indicates that the whole discriminatory priority group scheme should be trashed:
The three-decade decline in the number of veterans will continue. The total number of veterans is expected to decrease by 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, assuming no major policy changes or large-scale conflicts.
Priority group regulations are just used to deny care, as in this case–Citation Nr: 1536700 (LINK).
…In addition, the Veteran does not have any service-connected disabilities and his income exceeds the necessary income thresholds for purposes of enrollment in the VA healthcare system. He does not dispute these facts. The Board also acknowledges the Veteran’s contentions that he should be eligible to received VA medical care benefits based on his military service…
Entitlement to a higher level of priority for VA medical care benefits is denied. _
Thomas H. O’Shay Acting Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Decision Date: 08/27/15
The geographical income thresholds are outdated. This veteran is not a rich man in NYC. And this is a case of “penny wise and pound foolish” because if he is still covered by his spouse’s private insurance, the VA could bill them and get paid. A big plus for taxpayers.
I’m not even sure if the co-pays are wise or fair even if the blasted Priority Groups are eliminated.