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David Shulkin's Firing at the VA Is Latest Step in Trump-Koch Push to Privatize Veterans' Health Care

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

Trump and the Koch brothers are trying to kill the nation’s only single-payer system.


On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest department, with 360,000 employees. Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually being ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. The push to privatize the VA has been led by a group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is funded by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers. We speak to Suzanne Gordon, an award-winning healthcare journalist. Her forthcoming book is titled “Wounds of War: Veterans’ Healthcare in the Era of Privatization.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at the turmoil in the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest agency, with 360,000 employees.

Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually been ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. In a an op-ed for The New York Times, Dr. Shulkin wrote, “They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans,” unquote.

The push to privatize the VA has been led by a …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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