Good Health Care Piece by Tim Noah
Check it out here.
One additional factor contributing to the effectiveness of the VA and Medicare that he didn't mention is the absence of a profit motive. For profit health care creates a perverse incentive: the health care provider can increase profits by decreasing the quality of care. I don't have statistics at my fingertips (and my homework beckons), but suffice it to say that Medicare runs around 3% overhead, whereas a private insurance company spends as much as 25%.
If you read the annual stockholder reports for these Health Care giants, they like to boast how few cents on the dollar they spend actually delivering patient care.
Now, I'm not some firebreathing communist or socialist or anything like that. Yay, capitalism. But there are some industries and commodities that are basic necessities for survival, and where we should make an earnest effort to eliminate price-gouging: clean water, electricity, and health care, just off the top of my head.