March 30, 2018

Another Trump Administration official has heard his famous catchphrase: “You’re fired!” Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was the last major holdover from the Obama Administration, kept on and promoted by Trump because of his outspoken criticism of the shocking VA scandals that had led to veterans dying on waiting lists for care while the officials responsible covered their rears and kept their jobs. Shulkin was reportedly let go because of internal criticism over lavish travel expenses. But he denied that the travel costs were excessive and instead blamed his firing on his opposition to privatization of veterans care. Or as one Democratic Representative predictably put it, “Trump’s extreme privatization agenda."

To the left, “extreme” is a dirty word that is only applied to their opponents’ views, no matter how mainstream (for instance, if you agree with the vast majority of Americans in opposing unfettered abortion, you’re an “extreme” pro-lifer), but never to their own genuinely extreme views. Personally, I am proudly “extreme” in my views on veterans care: our veterans deserve extremely high quality care, the best we can possibly provide; and if VA clinics can’t deliver it in an extremely timely fashion, then they deserve to go to any hospital they prefer that can. I don’t give a flying fig whether that undermines the VA system. The bureaucracy exists to serve the veterans, not the other way around.

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Trump has named White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson, who also served in the Obama and George W. Bush Administrations, to be the new VA head. He’s widely respected across the political spectrum, and as we know from his press conference in which he had to deal with reporters devastated to learn that Trump is both mentally and physically fit, he has vast amounts of patience when dealing with the impaired.

Some veterans groups such as Disabled American Veterans are concerned about his lack of experience as a government administrator. Jackson will need to get up to speed fast and prove himself in the job, but he seems to be the type of person who is up to the challenge. His predecessors, who had plenty of Washington “administrative experience,” didn’t set the bar very high. His goal should be to make care for our veterans the highest quality possible, not to live up – or down – to the standards in place before he got there.



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Comments 1-7 of 7

  • Richard Singletary

    04/04/2018 11:20 AM

    Voting for Hillary Clinton would have been like going to the washington dc gorilla cage and ashing a gorilla for their hand in marriage.
    Donald j. Trump upset hillary and obama with is upset win on election night. Even the gorilla was not allowed to vote Hillary Clinton.

  • Camille Patterson

    03/31/2018 10:20 AM

    As a veteran with chronic issues, I have been put on waitlists many times for over 7 months. It is high past time for these ppl to do their jobs, treat medical issues, not waitlist vets. This is a disgusting tactic to lower costs while increasing their own pay. I have had doctors tell me that the doctors who actually DENY treatment are given bonuses. This is beyond disgusting and must cease.

  • Roland Richardson Moore

    03/31/2018 01:34 AM

    The VA is still rife with corruption. I am a vet with a service-connected disability and currently live in the Philippines. The newest scam by the VA here is to hire a company that will find Filipino doctors that will falsify information in order that benefits can be reduced. Instead of sending me to a specialist doctor who was conveniently located, they sent me to a "general practitioner", who was located far from my home and who did not know what she was doing. (Later verified by another Doctor.) The VA in the Philippines knows that 1. Most vets cannot afford to travel so far to a doctor and thus will drop their claim. or 2. When the VA reduces their claim, they know that the vets will give up, because the local VA offers ZERO help in filing an appeal. They won't even assist vets in finding someone to help them.

    I am a missionary here and I have always admired you. I don't expect you to help me, but I feel like am talking to someone who will care about me.

    Thank you Sir.

  • Carla Vornheder

    03/30/2018 02:46 PM

    Is the problem with the VA related to the problem with CHAMPUS. I think that is the name of the insurance given to vets. I worked in an office that dealt with a lot of different insurance plans and HMOs and PPOs and whatall. Almost nobody here locally wanted to be the one to accept CHAMPUS and help the vets in our area. The remuneration for treating these vets was so abysmally low that treating them was a losing proposition. Perhaps if CHAMPUS wasn't such a mess, the VA would be better able to treat the vets that come to them for help.

  • Franklin C. Nelson, Jr

    03/30/2018 12:32 PM

    Mike, if his lavish travel expensive's are accurate, that's reason enough. The privatazation of VA is a nothing question and there must be a compromise between the two so Vet's ( as myself) can choose. Frank

  • Franklin C. Nelson, Jr

    03/30/2018 12:30 PM

    Mike, if his lavish travel expensive's are accurate, that's reason enough. The privatazation of VA is a nothing question and there must be a compromise between the two so Vet's ( as myself) can choose. Frank

  • Stephen Russell

    03/30/2018 12:12 PM

    Why not hire Hegseth?? Great we have Indie military running VA, can end VA culture alone & DC culture??
    OK Vet groups Unite on issue.