Does government-run health care work?
Anybody who still thinks it’s a good idea to give the federal government total control over health care should consider the case of Philip E. Cushman, a Portland, Ore., resident and decorated ex-Marine whose back was broken when a fellow serviceman accidentally dropped a sandbag on top of him when their unit was under attack in Vietnam. For the past two decades, Cushman has been unsuccessfully trying to get the Veterans’ Administration to hand over some $100,000 it owes him for his service-related disability. Finally, in an Aug. 12 landmark decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Cushman’s statutorily mandated, non-discretionary, service-related disability benefits are protected property under the U.S. Constitution. The court also found that the VA illegally altered Cushman’s medical records to avoid having to pay his claim. Gordon Erspamer, a Walnut Creek, Calif., attorney whose law firm represented Cushman pro bono, told me that somebody at the VA added