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Fired VA Secretary Shulkin Slams Privatization Efforts

Fired VA Secretary Shulkin Slams Privatization Efforts”

Mr. Trump announced that he was replacing Shulkin in a series of tweets, and said he would nominate Adm. Ronny Jackson, who had been serving as the president's doctor, to replace him. Jackson's bio sheet shows no executive-level experience to justify the pick.

Shulkin's firing was the latest in a series of departures for top administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was sacked by Trump earlier this month.

"As I prepare to leave government", he wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times, "I am struck by a reoccurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country".

The VA is government's second-largest department, responsible for 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 government-run health facilities.

"I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way", Shulkin said.

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Traditional veteran groups argue that VA medical centers and clinics must be fully staffed and resourced to ensure timely care and to protect VA-unique expertise in treating wounds of war.

Hundreds of thousands of veterans, many who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Shulkin said after the release of the inspector general's report that he would comply with its recommendations, including reimbursing the government for his wife's $4,312 airfare and paying his friend for the Wimbledon tickets. But Trump has formed a close bond with his doctor in the hours they've spent together at the White House and traveling on Air Force One.

"There was nothing improper about this trip, and I was not allowed to put up an official statement or to even respond to this by the White House", Shulkin told NPR".

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Committee Chairman Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., instead gave the secretary a strong endorsement.

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Veterans organizations across the country are concerned by Trump's choice. Many of them lauded his service on the evening he was sacked.

"I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization", Mr. Shulkin said on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition". It was clear that the debate on private-sector health care was a touch point in Shulkin's rift with political appointees.

The outlook, however, changed drastically for Shulkin in February. Until the Senate votes on Jackson's nomination, he will be temporarily replaced by his number two in the Department of Veterans, Robert Wilkie.

Ironically, it was Shulkin who had recommended Jackson for an undersecretary position at the agency in fall. In 2016, he criticized a "strawman" report from outside health advisers appointed to recommend ways to improve veteran services. The congressionally created Commission on Care eventually rejected this minority view, in part at Shulkin's urging.

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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