Obama Administration Suggests the Veterans Administration Should Bill Private Insurance

The Washington Post reports today that the Obama administration suggested that the VA could save a half billion dollars annually by billing private insurers for the cost of treatment of veterans for service-related disabilities. 

This is an impressively bad idea.   Some private insurers might insist that veterans get treatment "in network," and the VA specializes in the care of service-related injuries, while many contracting hospital facilities do not.  This could compromise quality of care. 

Further, this would not "save" a half billion dollars - it would merely transfer the cost to the private insurers, which would therefore have to raise their rates to cover this new cost.  The results could be especially devastating to self-insured employers who lost the service of their loyal employees to the military, and then got socked with a big bill for treatment of war- or service-related disabilities.

Congress has apparently already rejected this idea.  Good.