Fired VA Secretary Shulkin Slams Privatization Efforts
30 March, 2018, 00:19 | Author: Julian Swanson
Trump, in a statement, called Jackson "highly trained and qualified" and said that, as a service member himself, Jackson "has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them".
Physician to President Donald Trump, Dr. Ronny Jackson, speaks during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC., Jan. 16, 2018.
In 2015, Shulkin was lured from the private sector and appointed by President Barack Obama as the VA's undersecretary for health. Shulkin told a staffer with a six-figure salary to act as a personal travel concierge for his wife on the taxpayer's dime.
But it's hard to believe the Trump administration cares much about the events that took place during that July 2016 trip, considering it still employs the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is so ethically compromised foreign governments have considered exploiting his family's business arrangements. But he resisted legislation favored by the White House to have VA cede more control of veterans' health care choices, fearing a steady shift toward privatization of VA care.
During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to fix the VA, which was still reeling after a 2014 scandal at its Phoenix medical center, where veterans waited months for care even as VA employees created secret waiting lists to cover up delays.
But Shulkin claims those successes have only emboldened those in the Trump administration who aim for privatizing the VA health system.
Shulkin, in part, blamed his dismissal on "the ambitions of people who want to put VA health care in the hands of the private sector" and said political agendas have become more important than the care of the 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 government-run health facilities.
Privatization of the agency has been a major goal of the Trump administration since the start.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.
But a major veterans' organization anxious about whether Jackson had the experience to run the huge department. The report stated that Shulkin made false representations to a VA ethics official and altered an official record, resulting in VA paying for his wife's travel.
His plan remains in limbo after Congress declined last week to include it in a spending bill.
Beginning with his confirmation hearing 13 months ago, Shulkin has repeatedly said during the past year that he's against privatizing the department.
Shulkin described his tenure as an effort to shore up the VA health care system while embroiled in a "power struggle" against those who sought to dismantle it.
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