Shulkin Was Acting As Bulwark Against Privatization Efforts — So What Does That Mean Now That He’s Gone?
Whether to privatize care for veterans has become a hot-button topic, especially since billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch turned their attention to the cause. Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin earned the esteem of veterans' groups for fighting against that tide, but with a new secretary poised to take over, the future is unclear.
The New York Times:
Veterans Affairs Shake-Up Stirs New Fears Of Privatized Care
President Trump’s dismissal of David J. Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs — and the nomination of a man with no known policy views to take his place — has brought renewed focus to an increasingly contentious debate over whether to give veterans the option of using the benefits they earned through military service to see private doctors rather than going to government hospitals and clinics. (Fandos, 3/29)
White House: 'No One Is Talking About Privatizing The VA'
President Donald Trump said Thursday he fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin because he wanted to give veterans more choices, but a spokesperson said his actions did not signal a desire to privatize veterans' health services. "No one is talking about privatizing the VA," deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in an email. She also told pool reporters Thursday that the selection of Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor, to be Shulkin's replacement was not an indication of a privatization plan. (Lima, 3/29)
With VA Secretary Out, LA Veterans Are Faced With Unanswered Questions
Los Angeles County alone is home to over 300,000 veterans, the most in the country, and the West L.A. VA is the largest veterans center in the country. The director told KPCC last year that wait times here are lagging behind the national average. If the Veterans Choice program expanded, that could mean L.A. veterans could start to look for private care closer to home. (Denkmann, 3/29)
The Washington Post:
Trump’s Pick To Head Veterans Department Faces Skepticism Over His Experience
The White House was thrown on the defensive Thursday over President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, forcing officials to fend off mounting skepticism that Ronny L. Jackson has the experience to run the government’s second-largest agency. Trump announced by tweet late Wednesday that the White House physician would succeed ousted secretary David Shulkin, surprising veterans groups and lawmakers, who were not notified beforehand and scrambled to learn the policy views of someone whose positions on the chronic challenges facing VA are unknown. (Rein, Kim, Wax-Thibodeaux, and Dawsey, 3/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
Lawmakers Respond Cautiously To Little-Known VA Pick Ronny Jackson
Capitol Hill lawmakers reacted guardedly to President Donald Trump’s nomination of the White House physician to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, with key members noting that they know little about him. Dr. Ronny Jackson, a U.S. Navy rear admiral who has served as a White House physician during the past three administrations, is slated to succeed Secretary David Shulkin, who was ousted Wednesday. Mr. Trump indicated on Thursday that he removed Dr. Shulkin because change at the agency was coming too slowly. The secretary had also been the subject of a travel-expenses scandal. (Radnofsky and Nicholas, 3/29)
Trump’s VA Pick Blindsides Staff, Deepens Agency Disarray
The timing of President Donald Trump’s announcement to name Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to lead Veterans Affairs was a snap decision that surprised his own chief of staff and knocked the government's second-largest agency, already bedeviled by scandal, deeper into disarray. White House chief of staff John Kelly had spoken with David Shulkin by phone Wednesday morning, reassuring the now-former VA secretary that he wouldn’t be fired by tweet that afternoon. Hours later, Kelly had to phone Shulkin again telling him plans had changed. (Woellert, Johnson and O'Brien, 3/29)
No Longer Muzzled, Shulkin Takes On Trump’s White House
Ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is going down swinging. Instead of disappearing into obscurity like others who were summarily fired by President Donald Trump, Shulkin is using his dismissal as an opportunity to step into the spotlight. Freed from the constraints of serving in the Trump administration, Shulkin is publicly — and loudly — raising red flags about what he sees as a sinister plot to privatize veterans’ health care. (Restuccia and Nelson, 3/29)
The Associated Press:
Fired VA Secretary Says Privatization Advocates Doomed Him
Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is blaming his sudden ouster from the Trump administration on "political forces" that he says are bent on privatizing the agency and putting "companies with profits" over the care of veterans. Shulkin, the lone Obama administration holdover serving in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, blasted a "toxic" and "subversive" environment in Washington that made it impossible for him to lead. In a tweet late Wednesday, President Donald Trump fired Shulkin, who faced a mounting internal rebellion at VA and a bruising ethics scandal. (3/29)
Shulkin: Trump Didn’t Mention Firing In Call Hours Before He Was Fired
Hours before he was ousted, former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin discussed his progress in his position with President Donald Trump — who gave him no indication that he would later fire him. Shulkin said during an interview with MSNBC that he spoke on the phone to Trump on Wednesday about needing to focus on polices to help the VA. (Morin, 3/29)
Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ VA Secretary Out, Privatization In?
David Shulkin, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, was fired Wednesday night by President Donald Trump. To replace him, Trump will nominate his White House physician, naval Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson. Shulkin, however, is not going quietly. He took to The New York Times op-ed page to claim he was pushed out by those who want to privatize VA health services for profit. (3/29)