David J. Shulkin who was named to be Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health by Barack Obama in 2015 and has actually done a more than credible job there since being confirmed as VA Secretary by a drumpf nominee’s only unanimous vote in the Senate last year, has been fired as VA Secretary so that drumpf can nominate
his horse er…his personal physician to the job, defends himself in today’s NY Times:
“I believe strongly in the mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and nothing about my political experience in Washington could ever change that. I also believe that maintaining a strong V.A. is an essential piece of the puzzle that is the United States’ national security system: We can only expect our sons and daughters to risk their lives and fight for our freedom if we can keep our promise to care for them when they return home broken, injured or traumatized. There is no excuse for not holding up our end of the bargain. The mission set forth by President Abraham Lincoln to care for those who have “borne the battle” is a sacred duty that I will remain committed to always.
During my tenure at the department, we have accomplished a tremendous amount. We passed critical legislation that improved the appeals process for veterans seeking disability benefits, enacted a new G.I. Bill and helped ensure that we hire the right people to work at the department. We have expanded access to health care by reducing wait times, increasing productivity and working more closely with the private sector. We have put in place more and better mental health services for those suffering from the invisible wounds of war. We are now processing more disability claims and appeals than ever before and, for the first time, allowing veterans to see the status of their appeals by simply logging on to their accounts. Unemployment among veterans is near its lowest level in years, at 3.5 percent, and the percent of veterans who have regained trust in V.A. services has risen to 70 percent, from 46 percent four years ago.
It seems that these successes within the department have intensified the ambitions of people who want to put V.A. health care in the hands of the private sector. I believe differences in philosophy deserve robust debate, and solutions should be determined based on the merits of the arguments. The advocates within the administration for privatizing V.A. health services, however, reject this approach. 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.”
I won’t pretend to know more than I do about the success of Shulkin’s tenure at the VA or the financing of the European Vacay for he and his wife that ultimately led (allegedly) to his removal.
But I do trust that the real President who appointed Shulkin, whose resume includes stints as Chairman of Medicine and Vice Dean of Drexel University of Medicine, editor of Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management and Hospital Physician and who founded and served as the Chairman and CEO of DoctorQuality, Inc., a consumer-oriented information service, probably picked a better man for the job than drumpf’s a**-kissing Admiral Sawbones.
And who better than a man still in the chain of command and thus obliged to salute and comply with drumpf’s state wishes to privatize the VA, could drumpf have picked to succeed him?