On Veterans Day, Romney Ponders Privatizing Veterans Affairs

November 11, 2011 4:31 pm ET — Alan Pyke

It may not be an official Romney 2012 policy position yet, but Mitt Romney suggested at a Veterans Day campaign stop this afternoon that it might be better to privatize soldiers' benefits than to maintain the longstanding Veterans Affairs system. TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports:

Talking with the veterans about the challenge of navigating the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy to get their health care benefits after they leave active duty, Romney suggested a way to improve the system would be to privatize it.

"Sometimes you wonder, would there be some way to introduce some private sector competition, somebody else that could come in and say, you know each soldier gets X thousand dollars attributed to them and then they can choose whether they want to go on the government system or the private system and then it follows them, like what happens with schools in Florida where they have a voucher that follows them, who knows."

The idea is similar to Romney's plan for Medicare, which would allow recipients to choose a private plan instead of the classic government-run health care structure.

The idea of partial privatization of benefits for our armed forces was a bit shocking when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposed it during his 2008 presidential bid. It's less so coming from Romney, the quintessential businessman candidate, who owes his fortune to the same economic dogma embodied in his brainstorm today: cost efficiency above all else.