Liberals routinely accuse conservatives of having too little faith in government. Conservatives routinely accuse liberals of having too much.
But most reasonable people, regardless of political ideology, know that just as there are some functions that government can and should handle, there are other that it can't and shouldn't.
And the Department of Veterans Affairs' sweeping dereliction of its duty to provide quality medical services to former military members provides more incriminating evidence against government health care.
That doesn't mean our nation should stop striving to provide the best government health care possible to our veterans. And Friday's resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is just a small step in that overdue process.
Beyond that exit, though, lies another vivid reminder that government health care is frequently fraught with serious problems.
For example, on Wednesday, the VA inspector general issued an interim report documenting an appalling pattern of widespread neglect - and even deceit - at not just the agency's medical facility in Phoenix, Ariz., but throughout its health care system. Among the many findings of shameful neglect:
Roughly 1,700 veterans who needed care were "at risk of being lost or forgotten" after not being placed on the official waiting list for appointments at the Phoenix VA hospital.
Also in Phoenix, investigators uncovered "multiple lists" that could serve as the basis for "secret" waiting lists designed to cover up the abominable lack of timely care.
And the IG points out that this self-serving - and possibly criminal - practice hasn't been limited to the Phoenix operation: "To date, we have ongoing or scheduled work at 42 VA medical facilities and have identified instances of manipulation of VA data that distort the legitimacy of reported waiting times."
Many Americans have found the recent revelations about VA medical care shocking. Yet this isn't the first time the VA system's critics - including numerous veterans - have found it to be sadly lacking.
It's no secret that many veterans who can afford to get their health care elsewhere have long done so rather than suffering through the interminable bureaucratic delays and other shortcomings of the VA system.
It's also clear that many Americans have long been justifiably wary about government health care in general.
That's one reason why President Barack Obama repeatedly promised that under his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it."
Of course, the president couldn't keep that farfetched pledge.
And now he can't keep the public from noticing the predictable, costly dangers of Obamacare, despite his continuing postponements of numerous mandates in the bewildering law.
Yes, government can, and must, do some things right - including fixing what's wrong with the VA medical system.
But Americans, whether on the political left, right or in the middle, should realize that the ongoing VA health care scandal is not just a national disgrace.
It's yet another instructive warning about the inherent perils of government health care.
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