Thomas Breen, a 71-year-old Navy veteran who had blood in his urine and a family history of cancer, went into the emergency room of the VA hospital in Phoenix. Staffers identified his case as "urgent," but sent him home to wait for an appointment. "He cried," Sally, his daughter-in-law told CNN, "and that's something I'd never seen him do before. He cried, 'Don't let me die.'"
When the family called the VA to look into the holdup, they were told they had to wait like everybody else. On Dec. 6, the day before Pearl Harbor remembrance day, Sally finally received a phone call informing her that VA doctors were ready to see Thomas. "We finally have that appointment," she recalls the VA official telling her. "Really, you're a little too late, sweetheart," she told the caller. "Thomas died on Nov. 30. The official cause of death -- stage four bladder cancer."
This is a prime example of what we would be headed toward with a single-payer plan -- a government-run operation full of bureaucratic intransigence. What you see happening in the VA is what happens in every government health care system.