Yet when Epic Systems Corp., which is based in his home state of Wisconsin, passed around a letter recently demanding that the VA's move to replace its open source VistA system with an open source process be halted, Ryan signed it. The letter claimed, laughably, that the benefits of a commercial system had not been given "appropriate consideration.”
This is bullshit. Commercial systems got plenty of consideration. It was called AHLTA – the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.
Based entirely on proprietary technology, AHLTA has been a big, long, frustrating failure. Meanwhile VistA, which was shared as “public record” a decade before anyone knew what open source was, has been giving our heroes the most efficient care anywhere for 30 years.
That's a market test, Congressman. You remember the market, don't you? You once claimed to be a supporter of it.
No. If you want something like what Epic built you have to build it yourself. You have to reinvent that wheel because Epic's technology is proprietary. It's not open source. Like, say, VistA.
The effect of this letter, which was also signed by Democrats, will be to stall the move toward an open source VistA replacement somewhat. But the cost of that delay will be measured in millions of dollars, dollars that we will have to borrow from China, dollars that won't go into care for our heroes but instead be spent by bureaucrats pushing paper to satisfy you, Congressman Ryan.
The term chickenhawk, for those of you who came in late, became a big pejorative during the Iraq War, when lying heaps of horse manure like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, who found convenient excuses to get out of serving during Vietnam in their youth, dumped on the bravery of real war heroes like Sen. John Kerry. This was done to discredit war critics, by going after those among us who knew first-hand what war was. And it worked.
Which is why the deficit is so ginormous today. Which is why we're broke, and in hock to China. Because we went to war under a tissue of lies, did it all on borrowed money, while cutting rich jerks' taxes and telling everyone to go to the mall.
That's water under the bridge, I suppose.
It's the deficit battle that's the war of the moment. And Congressman Ryan, you're doing the same damned thing Cheney did. You're demanding that everyone else make sacrifices while refusing to look one of your constituents in the eye and say, “you're wasting money. I say no.”
It's the very definition of chickenhawk.