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Report: Fix VA benefits by making troops buy their own health insurance

A health policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute is offering a radical idea to help reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and prevent future wars at the same time: Make troops and veterans pay for their own medical insurance.

In an online essay last week, institute Director of Health Policy Studies Michael Cannon recommends dropping the idea of free health care for veterans and instead offering better pay for current troops and vouchers for current veterans to buy their own coverage on the open market.  

He also calls for privatizing the Veterans Health Administration -- something the major veterans groups have all argued against -- with shares of the new publicly-run company to be given to veterans and servicemembers based on time in service.

“Privatization would improve the quality of veterans’ benefits immeasurably,” he wrote. “The federal government promises veterans’ benefits to military personnel once they leave active duty. Only it’s not an explicit promise. And Congress doesn’t fund it.

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