New bi-partisan poll of veterans shows they oppose privatization or voucherization of VA care.

Vet Voice Foundation

Despite issue with wait times, Veterans believe the answer is to hire more doctors and nurses;

Will not support politicians who back privatization of the VA


WASHINGTON – A new poll of 800 military veterans, performed jointly by Republican and Democratic pollsters, shows that veterans, while fully recognizing the issue with wait times at VA hospitals, believe the answer is investment in hiring more staff to deliver veterans care, not privatization or voucherization. 

The poll was commissioned by the Vet Voice Foundation, and performed by Lake Research Partners (Democratic) and Chesapeake Beach Consulting (Republican). 

A briefing memo on the poll can be found here: 

The full poll is also available upon request. 

Among the polls highlights: 

o   Sixty-four percent of veterans oppose this proposal; only 29% support it. There is also real intensity in their opposition to privatizing VA services. 

o   Overall, 57% of veterans would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported privatizing the VA health care system. Even a majority of Republicans indicate they would be more likely to vote against a candidate who supported privatization. This opposition extends across parties: 67% of Democratic, 57% of Independent/don’t know, and 53% of Republican veterans say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for high-elected office if they supported privatization of the VA health care system. 

o   Fifty-nine percent of veterans rate their impression of VA hospitals as favorable. When only asked about VA hospitals in their area, 61% of veterans rate their impression as favorable. 

o   In comparison, forty-seven percent of veterans have a favorable impression of “private health insurance companies,” which drops to only 25% of veterans when asked if they have a favorable impression of “for-profit health insurance corporations.” 

o   Veterans soundly reject that VA hospitals in their area should be run like a private hospital (only 12 percent strongly believe they should).  

o   Although veterans think that changes need to be made to the VA hospitals, their biggest want is more doctors (42% of veterans think that “needs more doctors” describes VA hospitals in their area very well). 

“Overwhelmingly, we found that veterans strongly oppose the privatization plans for the VA, and they would vote on this issue based on their strong opposition, being less likely to vote for a candidate to high-elected office if that candidate supported privatization,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research.  

“Veterans share a core value that health care was a promise for their service, and their health care should be fully covered – not paid for by vouchers that may not cover all expenses and services,” said Bob Carpenter, President of Chesapeake Beach Consulting. 

“This poll confirms what nearly every veterans service organization has always said – privatization and voucherization of the VA is a non-starter for veterans,” said Major General (Ret.) Paul D. Eaton, Managing Director of the Vet Voice Foundation.  “There is a lot of debate about “choice” in veterans care, but when presented with the details of what “choice” means, veterans reject it.  They overwhelmingly believe that the private system will not give them the quality of care they, and veterans like them, deserve.  Further, they strongly believe that the VA – not the private system – is best equipped to deal with their needs, and the needs of veterans like them.  It is therefore no surprise that veterans want the VA system to hire more doctors and nurses.”

Founded in 2009, the Vet Voice Foundation mobilizes veterans to become leaders in our nation's democracy through participation in the civic process. VVF offers veterans the opportunity to continue serving their communities by finding a new mission in domestic and foreign policy campaigns that are important to America. 

Vet Voice Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for charitable and educational purposes.