Bush wants to privatize some veterans’ health benefits, but in Florida it didn’t go so well


jeb bushWashington (CNN)Jeb Bush’s effort as governor to partially privatize veterans health care services in Florida went so poorly it was ended shortly after Bush left office.

That hasn’t stopped the former Republican governor, now in the early stages of running for president, from arguing veterans should be given the choice to see a public or private doctor, with either visit being paid for by the government.

“All of these government programs should shift to the person who’s receiving the benefit and they should be empowered to have more choices, rather than be told what line you get into,” Bush said recently in New Hampshire.

In 2014, after a CNN investigation uncovered that veterans had died waiting for medical care, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that gives veterans more access to private care if they suffer long wait times for appointments.

But Bush’s experience outsourcing veterans’ nursing homes in Florida was a case study in privatization’s pitfalls. By the time it was over, Florida officials determined the state could provide higher-quality care at a better price for taxpayers.